Ocean plastic pollution, commonly referred to as a marine plastic litter, is a major global environmental problem. Plastic litter harms marine species through ingestion and entanglement, violates the integrity of ecosystems, inhibits the growth of marine plants, accumulates and transports pathogens that may cause disease and injuries to marine animals, plants, and humans, and partly ends up in the food chain. Moreover, it causes economic losses due to reduced fishery yields, a declining amenity for tourism, and damage to shipping and related infrastructure.
Some of the plastic in the oceans comes from fisheries, aquaculture, nautical activities, and illegal dumping in the sea, but around 80% of the total comes from the land. Land-based plastic pollution is caused primarily by inappropriate management of waste of plastic packaging and short-lived products originating from various consumer products in numerous sectors.
Circular Economy and its role
Better management of plastic litter on land would reduce the amount of plastic litter entering the oceans, but that doesn’t address the issue of what to do with the overwhelming amounts of plastic waste generated in the first place.
One way to approach the challenge is by transitioning to a circular economy, where the crucial concept is designing out of waste. The key to the success of the circular economy approach is to focus on the design stage, rather than trying to deal with waste at the end of the product’s life.
In the case of plastic, the idea is to change practices and encourage innovation so that we use less plastic, design plastic products in ways so that they can be reused, develop the technologies that allow more effective and efficient reprocessing of used plastic and devise and use safer alternatives to traditional plastics.
Storopack takes the initiative by including the necessity of packaging altogether, including plastics, selection of renewable, bio-degradable, and compostable materials and additives that are not toxic or that are less toxic than fossil-based plastics, designing for less material use to decrease waste, and designing packaging.