The rising era for the climate movement and zero waste movement have brought attention to the problem with plastic pollution. Due to this movement, more and more people are aware of the long-lasting effect of plastic in the environment and the negative impact it has on marine life. The recent research which declares the discovery of microfiber and microplastic particle in human faeces also lead to a hypothesis that the urgency on the impact of plastic for human health needs to be addressed. With this, several new movements focus on the plastic and start to phase-out the use of plastic. Thus, should we say f*ck the plastic?
I think not.
Plastic production has increased from 2 Million Metric Tons (1950) into 380 Million Metric Tons in 2015. The growth in the production is not accompanied by the expansion for the waste treatment. This means that from the total amount of plastic produced, only 9% got recycled, 12% went to the incinerator and the rest either stay on the landfill or make its way into the ocean.
Moreover, the plastic aspect of our life. From disposable packaging, into your clothes, carpet, furniture. The new law for the EU to ban single-use plastic raise another image that plastic is an evil entity to have.
But what if we really say goodbye to plastic?
Our dependency on plastic already goes beyond simple packaging and disposable items. Plastic has touched every single part of our life and become a crucial part of our daily habit. If plastic is eliminated altogether from our daily life, we have to say goodbye to almost everything that we use and own.
Let’s say the device that you use to read this post. If there is no plastic, we have to say goodbye to the electronic device that we own, including laptop, phone, television and even car. No more entertainment device. Your furniture and the elastic fabric that you have will be eliminated. This goodbye also applied to your yoga pants, your carpet and that cute teddy bear that you cuddle.
Jump to our food section, we won’t be able to keep food fresh in a long time because plastic actually helps to preserve them. So by sacrificing plastic, we will also create a bigger food waste problem.
Those tin can of coke, those paper cup for your coffee will also be non-existing (although this is arguably easy to be a substitute).
And now, let’s take a look at the medical field, well, plastic is handy in this field and very helpful. I think I don’t have to explain in detail why it is necessary. Without a plastic tube, pipettes, it will be challenging to do research. Moreover, to re-wash medical utensils also will take energy, which is not that good for the environment either.
So plastic had been handy in various industries ranging from packaging, building and construction, automotive, electronic and electrical, and other industry. We should not escape from it, but value it and use it in a smart manner.
Not f*ck the plastic, but f*ck bad behaviour!
The current movement of “f*ck the plastic” give all of the burden of problem to plastic as an object. Meanwhile, the problem lays on us as the user of the plastic. Therefore, I would like to disagree with the movement. Because the current issue with plastic pollution raised due to the behaviour of the people and failure on design capacity. Plastic is a handy item and entity, we get a lot of benefit from it. However, the treatment that we give to them seems like plastic has no value.
Plastic depicted as the culprit and seems like we are the victim of it. So next time, do not say F*ck plastic, say F*ck bad behaviour that disposed plastic on the street, f*ck the disposal system that we have.
The role of Zero Waste Lifestyle is crucial because on one hand we do focus on reduction (mostly on plastic packaging), it is very important to reuse what you already have despite the fact that it made of plastic.
Because the problem is not the plastic itself but the way we use it. Use the plastic as wisely as possible, then you will get the full benefit from it. Treat it like a longlasting substance and not a disposable one. If we all agree with this value, I am sure in no time, we will be able to solve the problem. Because the current issue is our disposal culture and not the plastic itself.