GOOD NEWS this week!
Or so it may seem…
China has passed a new law that will ban all single-use plastics by 2025.
Forbes reported that, “The policy will ban the production and sale of disposable plastic tableware and cotton swabs by the end of 2020. Production of household products containing microbeads will be banned by the end of 2020 and sales of such products will be banned two years after that.”
It sounds like a win for the planet!
Especially since China is one of the world’s biggest waste producers.
The issue I see with this is aligned with the same problem many cities and restaurants in America are facing.
People know waste in the world is a problem, people understand the consequences of garbage and are looking to find ways to be better.
The question looming over our future is, are the alternatives that much better?
Yes, we need to get rid of single-use plastic, but if we are only replacing them with other single-use items, our garbage problem is not going away.
This is the main concern folks have with this new China ban. Yes, we are eliminating single-use plastic, but replacing them with compostable plastics, or other compostable alternatives only work if there is an infrastructure to handle a new way of creating garbage.
Yuan Chang, a Beijing-based plastics campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia is quoted in a Fast Company article stating, “We think it delivers a blurry message to the public—that biodegradable plastic can solve the problem, and you can just keep using single-use plastic and throw it away”. The ultimate solution, he says, is moving from a throwaway culture to a reusable one.
This is the biggest issue I see facing the world’s waste problem.
So what does this have to do with you? China, for most of my readers, is on the other side of the world and their reduction of single-use plastic is not really going to affect you.
However, the reason I share this is because of what Yuan Chang said…
The ultimate solution is moving from a throwaway culture to a reusable one.
How often is speed the goal of your everyday routines?
Think about it:
How late can you wake up and still get to work on time?
How many tasks can you accomplish on your subway ride to work?
Grab a coffee and a protein bar on the way from one meeting to the next.
What about take-out for dinner? I just want to eat now, don’t feel like taking the time to make dinner.
We live in a fast-paced world, and while speed certainly has its benefits, I want to challenge you to think about the side effects of your speed.
In your personal life, how much does the speed in which you operate generate waste?
Waste could be that single-use coffee cup you grab between meetings, the left-overs you forgot to eat because you had such a busy week, or the extra drive to pick up a sandwich instead of making lunch with what is already in the fridge.
One thing is for sure, I am no saint. I am not asking anyone to be perfect.
There is a time and a place for speed; for that to-go coffee, the protein bar, the take-out after a long day.
What is important is to be conscious of how your actions affect the world around us.
I shared this image last week and I think it’s important to share it again
So if you slowed down, prioritized, and made conscious decisions about your consumerism, could you live the same lifestyle with a little less waste?