The sudden boom in the daily use of plastic products, such as PPE, is adding to the already enormous problem of plastic pollution.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a near-doubling of medical waste, with cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok producing up to 280 tons more medical waste per day than before the pandemic.

Even more concerning is the estimate by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that, if just one percent of the one billion masks used in Italy each month aren’t disposed of correctly, we could see an accumulation of ten million plastic masks in the environment, which would cause an  unprecedented pollution problem.

Lockdowns across the globe have also led to the temporary suspension of more than 80 percent of the recycling value chain in Eastern countries such as Vietnam and India and, by April, more than 45 percent of recycling facilities in the United Kingdom had reported disruptions to their operations.

Another worry is the impact that social distancing has had on online shopping. Currently, there is a flood of products being delivered daily to people’s homes. These purchases are often wrapped in plastic packaging – resulting in a considerable increase in the amount of plastic waste produced. This was seen during Singapore’s eight-week lockdown when residents of the island-city discarded 1,470 tons of plastic from food delivery alone.

It is estimated that about 75% of plastic created during the coronavirus pandemic is likely to become waste that will clog landfills and pollute oceans. This is expected to have negative spillover effects on industries such as fisheries, tourism, and maritime transport and could lead to an additional cost of an estimated $40 billion each year, according to the UN Environment Programme.

At Bonnie Bio, we believe that every one of us has a responsibility to reduce the amount of plastic waste we produce. Here are six easily attainable steps we can take to live sustainably.

Switch to Bonnie Bio’s compostable products

The best thing you can do to reduce plastic pollution is to look to compostable alternatives. At Bonnie Bio, we believe that the use of our compostable and biodegradable products will contribute to the sustainability of the planet. By offering alternative options to petroleum-based plastics, without compromising the useful need for plastic-type materials, we have created a range of toxin-free and environmentally kind products that can help to reduce the plastic pandemic.

Our products are all made from natural corn and vegetable ingredients with no chemical additives to allow for complete composting and biodegradability. They are as sturdy as traditional plastic and because they break down back to CO2, water, and biomass, which are renewable resources, they are incredibly environmentally friendly. We even use soy-based ink to print, which is eco-friendly.

Limit Production

Cutting or limiting production is the first step to reducing plastic waste. Did you know that the production of virgin plastic has increased 200-fold since 1950 and, even more worryingly, has grown at a rate of 4% each year since 2000? This is possible by limiting demand for plastic, which means finding alternatives with the same benefits, but without the negative effect on the environment.

Reduce Usage

Currently, 40% of all plastic that is created is made for a single-use. With a lifespan of only one year, it is the production of these plastics that needs to be reconsidered. Best practice is to avoid using plastic wherever possible and cutting in this area will make a significant difference. It is further recommended that single-use plastics are redesigned so the majority can be reused or recycled.

Improve Waste Collection

The world’s failure to successfully manage plastic waste results in one-third of plastic (100 million metric tons of plastic waste) becoming land or marine pollution. The problem, it seems, is caused by low collection rates and poor sorting.

Mismanaged plastic waste is considered to be a critical concern because it is more likely to become pollution than waste that is managed through a controlled waste treatment facility. Failing to properly sort or dispose of plastic can result in waste being discarded directly into landfills or dumped into nature.

Increase recycling

In 2016, less than 20% of plastic waste was recycled, with most of it being discarded in landfills, through incineration or dumping. The reason for this is because the recycling process is unprofitable and expensive due to high collection and separation costs, and a limited supply of recyclable plastic.

Increase the demand for recycled content in plastics

Although plastic recycling is already well-established, it still isn’t easy for the manufacturers of recycled plastics to compete with virgin plastic producers. This is because they operate in the same market which often makes it difficult for recycled plastic production to be economically competitive.

By making it more expensive to release plastic into nature than to manage it to the end-of-life stage would help to resolve this. Measures should be put in place to ensure the global price of plastic reflects its full life cycle cost to nature and society.

Put an end to plastic pollution

The disruption to recycling services in the UK and around the world is a setback to solving our pollution problem. If you are mindful around plastic use, you will be acutely aware of how much plastic waste has ended up in your general waste over lockdown. Going plastic-free is easy with Bonnie Bio. Shop our range of plastic alternative products today.