The evolution of plastic pollution
It is widely documented that plastic pollution is evolving into one of the world’s biggest environmental calamities.
More than 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually, with approximately one third of this being manufactured into single-use items such as straws, bags and coffee cups. Consumer demand for products that are cheap, fast and easy has largely contributed to a culture of ‘plastic flippancy’, meaning 12 million tonnes of the discarded material ends up in our oceans every single year.
Global media scrutiny is now propelling consumers, businesses and governments alike to take meaningful actions in the war on plastic pollution; the EU has pledged to invest £310m into modernizing plastics production, China has banned the importation of plastic waste into the country, and even the International Olympic Committee has vowed to eradicate single-use plastics from its events by 2020.
Whilst initiatives like these will certainly help the environment, what more can be done to revolutionise the issue of plastic pollution? At Microban®, we have posed three key questions that highlight the benefits of antimicrobial plastic protection.
What if a plastic product was inherently cleaner?
It is not uncommon for people to discard of items that become unsightly, especially when cheap replacements are so readily available. More often than not, it is the presence of bacteria that will cause a plastic product to discolour or develop bad odours – two aesthetic unpleasantries that will almost guarantee its enrolment into the plastic pollution club.
One scientifically proven solution to this problem is antimicrobial protection. Once manufactured into a plastic product, the technology works to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, mould and mildew on the surface. This invisible shield will not wash off or wear away, meaning you can offer your customers an inherently cleaner product that is less likely to end up in the ocean.
What if a plastic product could last for longer?
It almost sounds like a contradictory question – why on earth would we want plastic to last for longer when it is polluting the environment at an overwhelming rate? Whilst that may be a valid observation, we urge you to look at the key benefit of a longer-lasting plastic product – that is, it’s less likely to end up in a trash can in the first place! In addition to minimising staining and bad-odour, antimicrobial protection has also demonstrated a proficiency for improving the durability of a plastic product. This means that it is less likely to break or crack under its recommended usage conditions.
What if a plastic product could help overcome unhygienic design flaws?
In a bid to tackle plastic pollution, governments around the world are now looking to impose taxes on single-use plastics. This has led to an increase in consumer-demand for reusable plastic products. Whilst this could be considered an environmentally-friendly move, research has shown that these items can harbor potential health hazards. Plastic coffee cups, in particular, are proven to be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. The design of the cups – including the difficult to clean mouthpiece – means liquids can quickly build-up in the lid, creating moist environments that foster bacterial growth. Constant reuse is then exposing consumers to bacteria that could make them ill.
Aside from redesigning the increasingly popular reusable coffee cup, the introduction of antimicrobial technology into its plastic components would work to keep it cleaner in between cleanings. This built-in line of defence would not only offer consumers an added level of hygienic protection, but it would also minimise the risk of them returning to the dark-days of pollutive disposables.
Cater for the ever-growing needs of your savvy customers by presenting them with antimicrobial plastic products that will not only remain cleaner, fresher and more durable for longer, but will also help minimize the effects of plastic pollution on our wonderful planet. For more information on how you can integrate plastic additives into your products, contact a member of the Microban team today.