Today’s post is written by Ivy Ray, Senior Procurement Specialist at SafeSourcing Inc.
It’s been almost a year since my previous blog, “Zero Waste Initiative”, in which I discussed the move by several retailers to begin phasing out their plastic bag use. Now, in addition to the global concerns about the impact of plastic on the oceans and ecosystems, there is a new plastic crisis regarding plastic’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
According to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), in 2019 alone, the production and incineration of plastic will add more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere which is equal to the pollution from 189 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants. The CIEL report Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, states that if plastic production and use grow as currently planned, by 2050, these emissions could reach 2.75 billion metric tons of CO2e from plastic production and incineration.
In the “Micro-bead Free Waters Act of 2015” the federal government banned the sale and use of rinse-off cosmetics that contain plastic microbeads. Washington, D.C., has enacted a bag fee to incentivize consumers to bring reusable bags when shopping. California was the first state to ban the use of plastic. New York and hundreds of municipalities across the U.S. ban or fine the use of plastic in some way. In seventeen other states there are those who argue that it is illegal to ban plastic items and are enacting old policy to place a ban on the ban of plastics.
Matt Seaholm, Executive Director of the American Plastic Bags Associations (APBA) says that the ban on plastics hurts the smaller businesses making it more costly for them to comply. The APBA proactively promotes and leads numerous public policy initiatives that serve as the frontline defense against plastic bag bans and taxes nationwide. Without universal laws across the country for plastic use, retailers with stores in multiple jurisdictions would find it difficult to adhere to different processes in multiple locations. According to Seaholm, more energy is used to produce replacement paper or cloth bags and that a ban will do little to impact overall litter and waste.
National Geographic hosts a multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis, “Plastic or Planet” which is very informative on the environmental impact of plastic, and challenges the community to find ways to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in their lives.
Plastic has become such an entrenched part of our lives, it is nearly impossible for us to live 100% free of plastic. It will be a long slow process that will involve a global effort in order to come to a resolution.
SafeSourcing has sourced plastic bags, paper bags, and reusable bags for our clients. Find the product that works for you, but remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you in exploring your procurement solutions for your business efforts, or on our Risk Free trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative. We have an entire team ready to assist you today.
We look forward to your comments.