plastic waste

Environmentalism a single-issue plastic waste campaign?

As a cosmetics manufacturer, the plastic waste is of concern. We use plastic bottles. There is no denying the environmental problems posed by single-use plastic. The widespread distribution in the food chain of microplastics. And the human health risks.

But, at the same time, the singular focus on plastic waste is fast becoming a distraction from the bigger issue. The need to attack climate change. This single focus on plastic does more harm than good.

Let’s look at what is happening. In Malaysia I see many brands leveraging the plastic waste issue to increase their sales. These brands have a short horizon and offer customers no long-term solutions towards attacking climate change. It’s all about sales only.

Plastic is not the culprit. In fact, it is a very useful material. Eliminating plastic may not always produce environmental benefits. For example, eliminating plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables in supermarkets may produce negative environmental impacts. This plastic packaging has benefits—even for the environment. Some packaging, for instance, prevents food waste (and therefore deforestation, fertiliser use or vehicle emissions).

The real issue here is that this focus on plastics is in danger of turning environmentalism into a single-issue campaign. This could do more harm than good. The biggest environmental challenge facing our planet is climate change—and anything that distracts attention from this is dangerous. The public focus needs to be broader.

Rather than looking for quick fixes, let‘s focus on identifying the underlying drivers of waste. We should focus on opportunities for systemic change. For example, there needs to be financial incentives to support the transition to zero waste solutions. Also, investment to better integrate food supply chains between rural and urban areas. At the same time recognising the opportunities that exist for reducing waste and emissions. We need to support investments to develop a waste infrastructure. The plastic manufacturing industry is looking at reducing plastic waste.

If you want to use plastic free skin care products, consider our range of handmade natural soap.

Dr. Mike Thair

Master Formulator

Indochine Natural

 

 

Photo credit: Louis Hans

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