What Is Your Company Plastic Footprint?

The US State Department and Secretary John Kerry, recently hosted the ‘Our Ocean’ conference, where plastic pollution was one of the three major topics of discussion. According to the director of the Plastic Disclosure Project, Andrew Russell, “the research unveils the need for companies to consider their plastic footprint just as they do for carbon, water, and forestry. By measuring, managing and reporting plastic use and disposal through the PDP, companies can mitigate the risk, maximize the opportunities, and become more successful and sustainable businesses” (Ocean Recovery Alliance, 2014).

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Natural capital analyst, Turcost, has calculated the “total natural capital cost of plastic in the consumer goods industry to be more than US$75 billion per year. The cost comes from a range of environmental impacts including the harm done by plastic litter to wildlife in the ocean and the loss of valuable resources when plastic waste is sent to landfill rather than being recycled” (Ocean Recovery Alliance, 2014). Wow, talk about the importance of taking an individual initiative, regarding this overwhelming global issue.

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The Plastic Disclosure Project (i.e. PDP) and its “research shows the value at risk for consumer goods companies if they fail to mitigate the threat by taking positive action. Tighter regulation, competition and consumer demand may force firms to pay the natural capital costs” (Ocean Recovery Alliance, 2014). Hopefully this process will inspire most companies to take responsibility, and become part of our sustainable future.

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In addition, “smart, forward-looking companies can take advantage of opportunities from improving management of plastic such as cutting costs through more efficient use of plastic, developing ‘closed loop’ business models that recover resources locked up in plastic and winning customers by creating sustainable products. Further benefits include creating brand value, attracting investment and improving employee satisfaction” (Ocean Recovery Alliance, 2014). Hopefully the information provided will inspire your business to join the smart and forward thinking companies.

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An extreme element that applies to our industry is the fact that “plastic use in the food sector has the largest impact in absolute terms, responsible for almost a quarter of the total natural capital cost” (Ocean Recovery Alliance, 2014). This is exactly why Foresight USA provides 100% compostable, food ware disposables made out of plant matter. The health of our environment and our community, happen to be a true inspiration for our Natural Partners TM product line.

I would like to conclude this week’s blog post with the following quotation by Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director:

“These reports show that reducing, recycling and redesigning products that use plastics can bring multiple green economy benefits- from reducing economic damage to marine ecosystems and the tourism and fisheries industries, vital for many developing countries, to bring savings and opportunities for innovation to companies while reducing reputational risks. Our economies are still largely fossil-fuel based, with the environmental, economic and health costs hidden. For example, in the polar regions, scientists have recently found tiny pieces of plastic trapped in sea ice. Transported by ocean currents across great distances, these contaminated particles eventually become a source of chemicals in our food. The key of course of action is to prevent plastic debris from entering the environment in the first place, which translates into a single powerful objective: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYLCE” (Ocean Recovery Alliance, 2014).

Work Cited:

"Companies Urged to Disclose Data on Plastic to Cut Pollution and Improve Resource Efficiency." (n.d.): n. pag. Plastic Disclosure Project. Ocean Recovery Alliance, 23 June 2014. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.

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