I can’t stop thinking about the whale they found with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach.
According to National Geographic, “the animal in the Philippines likely starved because its stomach was full of plastic, not food.”
It starved. TO DEATH!!!
Darrell Blatchley, a marine mammal expert and the curator at the D’Bone Collector Museum in Davao City, who brought the whale back to the lab to open it up for a necropsy, told the magazine that, “plastic was just bursting out of its stomach.”
“We pulled out the first bag, then the second. By the time we hit 16 rice sacks—on top of the plastic bags, and the snack bags, and big tangles of nylon ropes, you're like—seriously?,” he continued.
It’s difficult to even read that description. And it’s heartbreaking to think about.
I know many companies count on recycling to save their souls when they use plastic packaging, but it’s not the miracle we hoped it would be.
And China’s recent decision to stop accepting plastics for recycling makes that situation even worse.
As NPR reports, “In 2017, China passed the National Sword policy banning plastic waste from being imported — for the protection of the environment and people's health — beginning in January 2018.”
And that means that a lot of our plastic is ending up in landfills, being incinerated or sent to other countries "that lack the infrastructure to properly manage it,” according to a new study from Scientific Advances.
So basically, even recycling can’t save us anymore.
I’m not the only one reading stories like these, though. Consumers are seeing these articles as well — and they’re responding with their wallets.
According to Euromonitor's “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2019” report, “the durability of plastic packaging is being scrutinized because of plastic’s polluting presence, post-consumer use, as waste in the global environment. Consumers will increasingly use their wallets to protest the irresponsible use of plastic, which could, in turn, create a virtuous circle where industry, from food and beverages to beauty and personal care manufacturers and beyond, stand to gain by improving sustainability”
All of this means that companies have to do more to reduce packaging. But the good news is it’s really a win-win when companies do figure it out because less packaging means the product is cheaper to produce.
And the rise of eCommerce also means that packaging doesn’t have to do quite as much heavy lifting when it comes to marketing — by the time some consumers see products in person, they already paid for them days ago.
I’m hopeful that the confectionery industry will respond with the creativity and ingenuity I know it possesses when it comes to reducing packaging — because if it doesn’t, we all pay the price.