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Plastic – Why the Fuss?

Why the fuss and uproar all of a sudden? What’s so bad about this ever-so-mentioned material in which all of our food and drink is packaged? Today, the focus is set on the direct effects of the plastic-use on humanity and not its long-term and indirect effects.

This material has been around since the 1960s and has become the main material all companies turn to. It provides us with strength and durability that can last thousands of years, unlimited colour alternatives; making it great for marketing, whilst all the while being the lightest material out there. This makes it cheap to transport, which in turn means it has a low carbon footprint when traveling. Plastic is an efficient material that has gratified us through several different means. Think about all the times plastic has preserved your chocolate bar, muffins and cereal bars and quenched your thirst by providing you with that delicious iced-latte or fresh smoothie.

So why are we all attacking this poor material that has satisfied all our needs and desires throughout all these years? What is the reason behind the sudden controversy against plastic? The truth is, whilst this material seems to have all of our problems handled, it has been poisoning us in an excruciatingly slow pace. Let’s ignore, (for the sake of the argument), the fact that this material can last from 500 up to forever (yes, forget the saying ‘Nothing lasts forever’ – plastic does, it can last forever). Let’s simply focus on the very well known fact that plastic, along with a few other packaging materials, releases poisonous chemicals in particular, Bisphenol A (BPA) (Thoene M, et al. 2018).

BPA has been linked to endocrine/nervous system disruptions, breast cancers in women and possible pre-empted cancer in children who are born from a mother that has ingested food wrapped in plastic. So does this mean that it is highly likely that we have been poisoned every time our food and drink has been packaged in plastic? Yes, that is exactly what this means. Now multiply this minimal poison by every time you have ingested anything wrapped in it; ice-cream, cereal, a delicious dip, or the times you don’t even remember- here I am referring to the baby food wrapped in horrendous amounts of plastic – or hell, just multiply this minimal amount of poison by all the times you drank out of a plastic water bottle.

The results are horrifying. And they are real.

If there is something that many people can agree upon, it is that we are a sick population. Today, my victim is this material and its direct use, and not the other countless reasons as to why the 21st century’s population is sick. Today, you as the readers, are taking the time to be aware of and consider the staggering possibility of our ever-multiplying cancer rates to be greatly influenced by the release of chemicals from packaging into our food.

So are we doomed by a system that has told us we have been eating ‘healthy’ preserved food whilst it poisons us? No we are not doomed. It is not ‘too late’; there is always hope for a good future and that future is always in our hands. What can we do? The next time you’re about to buy a plastic bottle, remember you have a 90% chance of ingesting micro-plastic and consider the health effects these chemicals are having when leeching into your body. Countries like the Philippines have also found a way around this problem and have adopted water-filtering and cleaning systems or water dispensers and water bottles can be refilled all over the country. Buy your fruit and vegetables in your own produce bags from farmer’s markets and take your own containers to the store for your cheeses, meats etc. As consumers and customers, we have a right to food that is not packaged and anyone that denies you this right does not deserve another penny of yours. Stick to restaurants that deliver in compostable packaging. I will soon be uploading another post about getting around a plastic-free life and how easy this can be when guided.

All companies base their research and products on ‘consumer consumption’. Supply is the demand. All major companies will have no choice but to change their methods if the public took a stand and did not purchase their products. These companies have already seen major declines in profits from items packaged in plastic and were forced to adapt to the required demand.

So I’m sorry Plastic, our population might be sick but we’re also intelligent enough to look into the future and that’s somewhere you won’t be going. We’ve discovered other materials that get your job done perfectly fine without killing us in the process. You’re about to get kicked to the curb, regardless of your years of service – almost makes me feel sorry for you, almost.

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