Why Supply Chains Should Reduce Their Plastic Footprint

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Stunning photographs and videos of trash floating on reusable stretch lids the surface of the oceans, such as in the highly-publicized Great Pacific Garbage Patch," have raised global awareness of the marine plastic debris problem. More importantly, if we focus on the damage that plastic bags do to the ocean rather than the damage that other debris does then we are making a terrible mistake. If the answer is yes, you should know that this inadvertent overconsumption of single-use plastic carries with it a very high cost to the environment, which in turn also negatively affects our health.

Banning plastic bags in lieu of cotton or paper could have a negative impact on the environment overall, not to mention the inconvenience of limiting reuse of those bags for everyday things like lining trash cans, protecting your belongings, or even cleaning up after your dog.

For many people, plastic straws are a issue of convenience, but for some people with disabilities, they're a matter of safety and independence Advocates for people with disabilities say that plastic single-use straws — particularly those with a bend — are essential tools that allow people with limited mobility to drink.

Plastic bags are expensive and hard to clean or remove from the environment. Greenpeace activists have taken on retailers worldwide calling for an end to single-use plastics on store shelves. Note that this does not mean plastic bags have no environmental costs but when determining the environmental costs and benefits of different bags we must honestly present the science.

Plastic bags never degrade completely which shows that as more of them are produced by companies, then more are introduced into the environment. Biodegradable plastic bags do not have a magic ingredient that makes them self-destruct and break up into tiny pieces made of simple molecules that bugs and fungi can happily munch up (Pearce 2009).