Have you heard the terrifying prediction that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050? The oceans are becoming our garbage dumps and plastics are one of the largest environmental problems in the world today. As the use of plastics in consumer goods continues to grow, the effects of these materials entering our oceans are only intensifying.
Once in the ocean, plastics are shredded and broken down by organisms, sun, and waves into micro-plastics that are ingested by marine life. This affects the entire ecosystem, including the fish and seafood we eat.
Plastic is Choking Our Oceans
Many countries lack sufficient waste management programs and recycling facilities to keep up with the rate of plastic production. Island nations, like Haiti, face particular challenges. Without garbage trucks to pick up on a regular basis, trash sits in the streets or in empty lots. When it rains on these islands and in coastal areas, this trash --much of it plastic-- washes into the waterways and oceans.
What is the Solution?
There are ways to slow the spread of this problem. While there is an urgent need for innovation of biodegradable and recyclable plastic materials, researchers agree that the more immediate solution is to prevent plastics from entering the oceans in the first place. Investing in waste management in countries where it is insufficient and increasing recycling efforts will make a huge impact on the environment.
The Ocean is Our Inspiration
At Captain Blankenship, we want to help protect our oceans. Packaging waste is a big problem in the beauty industry. We believe in a circular economy in which we consider all stages in the life of a product. What happens to products after consumer use is an important part of the overall environmental impact of that product. Ideally, we aim for the reuse or recycling of all materials from all steps of production.
Producing beauty products that are good for our bodies should not compromise the health of the environment. We do this by considering the impact of our products over their full lifecycle. By doing this, we can feel good about making choices that do not directly contribute to the problem. Although we use glass for most of our product line, which is easily recycled, we realized that the use of glass in the shower or bath is not always practical. We needed to find an alternative to glass for our Sea Mineral Liquid Soaps which could potentially be dropped on a hard surface.
Supporting an Economy for Ocean-Bound Plastic
After a lot of research, we decided on packaging made from 100% recycled ocean-bound plastic from a company called Envision. Envision believes that preventing plastics from entering the oceans in the first place is essential to protecting the planet. Part of Envision’s mission is to educate consumers on the importance of managing plastic packaging properly through collection and recycling.
We are impressed with Envision’s work with at-risk areas in the Caribbean. They are currently focused on helping Haiti cleanup its shores and river mouths where plastic pollution is rampant.
Creating a More Sustainable Future for the Ocean
Although groups like this are making a significant impact, the demand for recycled plastics remains low, so costs remain high. Resin created from used plastic material requires less than half the amount of resources required to produce virgin plastics. Since the demand is not sufficient enough to lower costs, it sadly remains cheaper to produce virgin plastics.
We hope more companies will realize the negative impact of packaging waste to our planet and support these efforts to recycle and protect our oceans. A bright future is possible, but we need a significant change of consciousness around plastics and increased understanding of the lifecycle of every product we purchase. At Captain Blankenship, we promise to continue to select the best packaging options to protect the environment. We are glad to support packaging solutions like Envision, and know that the health of our planet depends on making these better choices!
To learn more about Envision plastics (and to see a picture of an adorable sea turtle!) and the work they do, please visit their website: http://oceanboundplastic.com/
To learn more about the issue of plastics in our oceans visit http://plasticsoceans.org/the-facts/