The Impact of Waste Management on our Planet – Exploring the 4 R’s
Zero Waste Week 5th – 9th September 2022
Zero Waste Week takes place from the 5th– 9th September 2022 and is designed to raise awareness about the environmental impact of waste, empowering people to rethink ‘rubbish’ as a valuable resource and to encourage everyone to make small changes that lead to more sustainable consumption patterns.
Dan Coppins, Plantopia’s Packaging Technologist and QC Manager, explains Plantopia’s commitment to the 4 Rs of waste management and how you can play a part in reducing what enters the waste stream.
We live in a modern age of speed and convenience – as a consequence of this, we spend less time truly seeing the everchanging environment around us. In a report released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), it was revealed that British households create over 26m tonnes of waste each year, the weight of around 260 large cruise ships, with the average person in the UK throwing away around 400kg of waste each year equalling to 7 times their body weight. (SOURCE: Recycling Facts (recyclingbins.co.uk))
Waste causes all sorts of changes to the environment and has been a contributing factor to the increase in global warming, something which has gradually crept to the forefront of all our minds. Therefore, there is no better time than now to stop and really think about the world we live in and how we can reduce our own impact through thoughtful control of what we throw away.
The Four R’s
One good way to assess how we live is to put the 4R mantra into our daily lives. Remove, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – in that order. The theory is really simple and straight forward, but the effect is huge.
Remove - Look to remove any unnecessary clutter, a cleaner environment can also sometimes mean a cleaner mind and lifestyle – at Plantopia, this is our starting point too, removing anything that is not needed in our products. For Plantopia, we remove excess packaging by reducing pack size to be only what is needed to protect or experience our products in the best way, leaving the least amount of waste possible. For example, we only use cartons as secondary packaging on our serums and oils to provide extra protection to the glass bottle of this product.
We also work with ReSea, to remove the same amount of plastic from the ocean as we use in our packaging in order to protect our oceans, future generations, and marine wildlife. So far, we have collected 6,057 kg of plastic, which is the equivalent of removing 611,818 plastic water bottles.
Reduce - This is closely followed with reducing our intake. Have you ever thought about how much you actually throw away, often without using or consuming? Reducing the amount reduces our carbon footprint massively – food waste is the second biggest carbon emitter globally, the average UK household throws away 20% of all food purchased. (SOURCE: Recycling Facts (recyclingbins.co.uk) Some supermarkets have gone so far as to remove ‘use-by’ dates on their foods to encourage people to use common sense and smell to determine if something is suitable for consumption, rather than going by just a number on packaging.
Reuse – This is something that we all need to put as a priority in the modern age – there is so much talk about single use items – this is something that we need to re-phrase in our minds. Nothing is single use, almost everything we use can be given a new purpose, or cleaned and re-used for the same, or similar purpose to before – before you throw anything away, pause and consider, can it be used for something else? There was a time, not too long ago, where this was mainstream and people kept all sorts of things for different applications.
Within Plantopia products we use post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR), PCR plastic is packaging that has being given a second life/ is reused rather than entering the waste stream. Where plastic has been used in Plantopia packaging at least 65% of each product uses PCR.
Recycle – Of course, this is so, so important for our environment. Recycling means that if you cannot reuse something in its current purpose, it can be processed, and repurposed into something else that can be re-used – This is key to the future and a circular economy. At least 94.38% of all Plantopia packaging is curb-side recyclable.
Plantopia’s Planet Commitment
For Plantopia, understanding the effects on the waste stream is really important and we strive to ensure that not only the product you use, is considered in these processes, but also how we make the products, and how they are disposed of has also been carefully considered too.
Wherever possible Plantopia will reduce and remediate the devastating and ongoing harm to the planet, with a deep-rooted commitment to the 4 Rs of waste management. Plantopia will ensure we establish and promote systems and services to enable the movement from a linear to a circular economy.
Find out more about Plantopia’s Five Force Focus ‘Planet’ with our People and Planet Positive Manifesto at Plantopialife.com.