While it might be fairly common knowledge nowadays that consumption habits are contributing to climate change, not everyone is truly committed to the fight to help the environment. Although engaging in green policies can often help a company's bottom line, for example, cost reductions from recycling metalworking fluids can result in a potential 8% volume reduction against a non-recycling system. In spite of that, a variety of factors keep some people and companies from going green in a significant way.
Plastic Keeps Costs Low
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that many companies and industries continue to use plastic, despite available alternatives, as a means of keeping costs low and consumers happy. One example is in the construction industry; while other materials exist, plastic is often the most cost effective. Vinyl siding is America’s most popular siding material, accounting for more than one-third of installations across the country, largely because consumers prefer it as a low-cost alternative. However, this construction waste contributes significantly to the world's landfills, meaning much of this plastic ends up as waste that worsens climate change.
In addition to being low-cost, plastic contributes significantly to the economy as well. Entire industries rely on the production of plastic, making plastic manufacturing incredibly lucrative as an industry. Because so many companies, products, and technologies have come to rely on the existence of plastic, manufacturers keep creating more plastic in order to meet consumer demands. In fact, the plastics industry is the third-largest manufacturing industry in the United States. When combined with the fact that plastic waste management as an industry is projected to reach a market size of $35.10 billion by 2026, and it's not hard to see why people are tempted to not properly address the issue of plastic waste.
What To Do With Waste?
All this doesn't mean that we're stuck with plastic waste forever, though. While larger companies and organizations might struggle with reducing their plastic use, there are ways that society can slowly rely less on plastic and, eventually, reach a zero-waste status. Reducing individual consumption and improving recycling habits is a start; however, in order for real change to work, people need to encourage companies to reduce their plastic use and improve how they're disposing of plastic products.
Finding ways to combat plastic pollution and waste can be difficult, and it's not hard to understand why; people rely heavily on plastic in their day-to-day lives, and in many ways, this is by design. However, alternatives to plastic do exist, and some people are even working on finding ways to better dispose of plastic. Hopefully, a future with less plastic waste is in sight, but it will take time, patience, and plenty of effort.