The solution to plastic pollution is in our hands.
Under the heading of “know thy enemy” please forgive this heresy: plastic is an incredible material.
If you’ve ever worn a seatbelt, or used a computer, or sat on a toilet seat… the truth is, we’ve all benefited from the existence of plastic, a million times over. Plastic is so successful, so pervasive, because it is endlessly variable, multi-purpose, durable, and inexpensive.
But of course, there's a dark side.
Shortly after World War II, demand for all sorts of consumer goods increased rapidly. Product designers got busy and manufacturing capabilities improved, churning out thousands of ways to use plastic. Its disposability was one of its main attractions. Gradually, plastic gathered in our lives, in our environment, until today, barely a single lifetime later, it has become a major threat to our planet’s health.
However, our past does not have to define our future. The plastic pollution problem is a very new phenomenon. We got to this place piece by piece, meaning it’s entirely possible to get out the same way. Piece. By. Piece.
The key to building a better planet exists in the choices we make each day. That’s where you come in.
Do our small actions matter? Yes! Because they add up. Does ‘stop using plastic straws’ make a difference? Indeed it does.
So what are some ways we can reverse this unfolding disaster?
- Adopt a durability mindset. That means if you need to buy something, think of its life. Will it last and be useful for years?
- For that matter, adopt a ‘do I need this damn thing?’ mindset. Retail therapy should be a thing of the past. Do we really need any more stuff? Let’s only buy what we absolutely need. And if we’re looking for comfort, that’s what coffee/chocolate/friends/cats/dogs/books are for.
- Vote with your choices. Next time you’re shopping, look to the left and right of the product you’re about to buy. Is there a plastic-free alternative? Grab that one instead. Believe us, enough people picking up a plastic-free product will make the most massive change. All the big companies that think they can get away with their plastic packaging will start to worry about their bottom line, right where you just kicked them!
- Recycle better (you’ll never be perfect). The really rotten news is that recycling is not what you think it is. You think: I can toss all the glass, plastic and paper into my recycling, and magic will happen. Umm… no. Plastic needs to be separated from cardboard (ie., tape removed from shipping cardboard) food needs to be rinsed from plastic and glass containers, labels need to be removed, caps need to be removed…the list goes on. Recycling well is hard, we get it! We always recommend reaching out to your local recycling company to ask them exactly what they take. Make a visible list to make things easier on yourself, and ensure that those other pieces of packaging don't contaminate your contribution.
At HiBAR, we think about this stuff every day. Are we really making a difference with our solid shampoo bars and conditioner bars? How much impact does our recyclable, compostable packaging and shipping packaging make? Or is this just us feeling good about ourselves while we build a business?
It seems complicated, but to us it’s quite simple.
We don’t have a business if we don’t do our very best to help solve the plastic pollution problem.
We don’t have a future if we all keep messing up the planet.
We don’t have anything if we don’t have each other, working together in fits and starts, imperfectly, but in the right direction.