Over the last decade plus, it's becoming abundantly clear humanity has an extremely serious issue with plastic ocean pollution / waste because of the amount of plastic entering the ocean and that they do not biodegrade. And before we start pointing the finger at Asia, people should understand China took in the world's plastic waste for 20+ years before stopping at the start of 2018 and the vast majority of that plastic waste came from outside of Asia and especially from the US.
At best, plastics photodegrade which leads to plastics breaking down into smaller microplastics which just compounds the problem of plastic in the ocean. As plastics are made from natural gas and petroleum, several chemicals used in the production of plastic materials are known to be carcinogenic so interfere with the body’s endocrine system causing developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune disorders. And as plastic builds up in the ocean, marine life ingests plastic and we humans ingest marine life so we are ingesting plastic and the estimates are 40K - 50K microplastic particles / year.
Given the growing severity of the issue, the US has recently decided to team up with France to develop a global treaty addressing the full lifecycle of plastics. Long overdue as the US is the biggest producer and consumer of plastic and this just started being discussed this past week at the One Ocean Summit in Brittany, France. The challenge though is that as autos electrify, the oil and gas industry is looking to make up that lost revenue by doubling down on plastic production. An example of this is the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex outside of Pittsburgh, PA and this poses some significant issues.
Plastics recycling has always been pretty much a hoax and now companies are going to start producing more and more plastics. While states like Maine and Oregon have taken steps to have the producers help fund recycling efforts, these don't take effect until 2024 at the earliest and it's clearly not enough to stem the tide of plastic waste in the ocean. And while new developments such as French shipping firm CMA CGM stopping shipping plastic waste as of 6/1/22 and MIT developing new naturally derived / plant based sustainable plastic, this is a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to happen and should have started decades ago.
We at BeachNecessities.com have been aware of this issue for years now and it's a primary reason why we are a corporate member of 1% for the Planet. While we can control our actions, and we avoid using plastic packaging when we ship goods, we can't control our supply chain and right now the beach industry has a BIG plastic problem as most, 75%+ of the goods we order, come wrapped in plastic. For now we leave all goods that arrive in plastic that way until they are ordered, but when we ship them we remove the plastic. That being said, at this point in time all we can do is throw away the plastic as there is no plastic recycling save for PET bottles.
We will continue to look for solutions, especially as it pertains to reducing use of and recycling plastic, but again, we are a small company that doesn't wield any influence in the beach industry. However, you consumers do have all the influence based upon your purchasing habits so we'd just like to ask that you make reducing plastic packaging in your shopping a priority. We appreciate your consideration, as does the ocean, and if any questions please feel free to reach out to beaches@BeachNecessities.com.