Plastic pollution not only makes landfills unbearable, but also affects the health of animals, including humans, and also leads to environmental degradation and climate change. Although more and more enterprises promise to reduce the use of plastics as the public's expectations of corporate responsibility become higher and higher, these promises may not be enough.
The researchers published an article in One Earth, a journal of Cell Press, on November 19, detailing how the world's giants focus on recycling plastics rather than reducing the production of native plastics, which makes their commitment to reducing plastics less meaningful.
The study focused on the top 300 companies in the Fortune 500, of which 72% have committed to reducing plastic pollution. The research team led by Zoie Taylor Diana, an environmental researcher at the Marine Laboratory of Duke University in the United States, said that most of the commitments emphasized plastic recycling, but generally targeted ordinary plastics. If we want to comprehensively solve the problem of plastic pollution, they are an important component but not a comprehensive solution.
The author wrote: "From 1950 to 2017, the plastic output increased 174 times, and is expected to double again by 2040." It is estimated that by 2015, 79% of the world's plastic waste had been landfilled or eventually entered the natural environment, 12% had been incinerated and 9% had been recycled. Plastics in the environment have a negative effect on all biological tissues.
This paper highlights the extreme concern of these companies to change their consumption and production patterns, usually by adding more recyclable ingredients and "lightweight" to their products - slightly reducing the amount of plastic used to package specific products.
"We found that many companies, such as Coca Cola and Wal Mart, are producing lighter and smaller plastic products, such as bottles and bags." The author wrote, "This' lightweight 'plastic is considered an inadequate response, because enterprises may reinvest the saved money into the new plastic product market, or increase the total quality of plastic production." As the number of plastic products is increasing every year, the use of this practice has not led to a net decrease in plastic.
Looking ahead, the author said that the scientific community should continue to monitor the plastic products of large companies and the impact of plastics on the earth. "Scientists (including natural scientists, life scientists and social scientists) play an important role in monitoring and determining environmental problems, which may help to urge companies to fulfill their responsibilities."