It’s no secret that environmental responsibility, especially when it comes to businesses, is of the utmost importance. Humankind is producing more waste than ever before, and it’s making a marked impact on our world. We must do something before the damage becomes irreversible. Plastic is among the biggest waste that we produce—about 380 million tonnes per year. Although plastic is cheap to produce and offers endless uses, it’s also difficult to get rid of, and it destroys ecosystems and animal life. In order to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced, businesses and individuals alike need to pay attention to their plastic footprint. But, what is a plastic footprint, and how can you reduce it? Here’s a quick guide.
What is a plastic footprint?
In basic terms, your plastic footprint is how much plastic you contribute to the world’s plastic waste. This can include the plastic that you consume as well as the plastic that you produce. It comprises everything from plastic wrap, shampoo bottles, plastic in phone covers and other devices, and anything that contains plastic.
Why is your plastic footprint important?
In spite of its usefulness, plastic waste is a big issue. Of the 300 million tonnes of plastic we produce every year, about 8 million tonnes of that end up in our oceans. Additionally, producing plastic creates CO2, so the larger our plastic footprint, the bigger our carbon footprint is as well. Many plastics produced are non-recyclable, which means that they will end up in landfills, as litter, or as ocean-bound plastic if they are not disposed of properly (which much of it is not). The more plastic we produce, the more plastic waste becomes litter. Besides the massive environmental factors, your plastic footprint can affect your profits. According to a survey by Hotwire, 47% of consumers worldwide said that they stopped supporting a company because that business did not reflect their personal values, and environmental issues were listed as the top value. This means that companies that don’t improve their sustainability practices will see a drop in customers. Paying attention to your plastic footprint isn’t just the right thing. It’s also imperative to the success of your business.
How can I reduce my plastic footprint?
To be frank, reducing your plastic footprint isn’t easy. Plastics are an incredibly useful material, and we’ve yet to find a substitute that’s as cheap to produce and as practical as plastic is. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your plastic footprint.
- Reduce your company’s usage of single-use plastics (plastic straws, plastic wrap, etc.)
- Whenever possible, use sustainable plastic substitutes or recyclable plastic in favor of single-use plastic
- Financially contribute to programs that properly manage plastic waste
How can I offset my plastic footprint?
We understand that reducing your plastic footprint can have a huge impact on your company’s budget, and it can take years of policy adjustment and other changes before your plastic footprint can see a significant change. Rather than reducing your plastic footprint on your own, you can offset your plastic footprint. Offsetting your plastic footprint means that instead of reducing your plastic waste by your own means, you instead invest in programs that will eliminate plastic waste. Plastic credits are a way to do this. Plastic credits work the same way that carbon credits do: you purchase plastic credits based on the weight of the plastic that your company produces, and the money spent on those credits will go toward programs that help to properly eradicate an equal amount of orphan plastic. This way, your company may achieve plastic neutrality (zero plastic waste) as a first step towards sustainability. It’s important to understand that offsetting your plastic footprint is only one small step in the right direction. While achieving plastic neutrality through purchasing plastic credits is an excellent sustainable practice, you should continue to come up with ways to further reduce your plastic footprint. As a world community, our ultimate goal is to have fewer plastics to eliminate, and the only way to achieve that is to reduce our plastic footprint as much as possible. Plastic waste is a huge issue, and it’s only growing. As individuals and as businesses, we need to pay attention to our plastic footprints and come up with ways to reduce them. It’s not just good for business, but it’s also essential for the future of our world.