©2018 by Mackenzie Madison

Big Into Plastic

It's Just Emotional

Plastic bag collage on paper

18 x 24 inches

2019

It's Just Emotional

I appreciate Dow’s push towards sustainability, but their motives are still tainted by greed. Jim Fitterling, CEO of Dow announced at a meeting in Düsseldorf, “[Banning plastics] is not the answer... A lot of attacks on plastics are emotional, and they tend to fade pretty quickly.[1]” Yes, plastics have improved medical care and food preservation as well as other areas. But, too much of a good thing can also be bad. Anti-plastic ads have a common push to evoke an emotional response, because that is the easiest response to first trigger. It is emotionally evocative; it’s depressing to see animals injured by this product. But it is also a physical issue too. A human consumes 39,000-52,000 particles in a year.[2] With the addition of inhalation, the number jumps to 74,000 particles.  Well Mr. Fitterling, this “emotional,” issue is not just an upset individual. It’s emotion informed by staggering facts.

 

 

[1] Eposito, Frank, “Dow CEO Fitterling: Solutions to plastics waste are within reach,” Plastic News, 18 October 2019, accessed 4 December 2019, https://www.plasticsnews.com/news/dow-ceo-fitterling-solutions-plastics-waste-are-within-reach

[2] Gibbens, Sarah, “You eat thousands of bits of plastic every year,” National Geographic, 5 June 2019, Accessed 4 December 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/you-eat-thousands-of-bits-of-plastic-every-year/

Breakthrough Bottle

In October of this year, Coca-Cola revealed their new prototype bottle that is 25% created from recycled material. By 2030, 50% of their product will be made from recycled material. [1]But this still leaves 40 billion bottles in the environment every year. Currently, a trash audit performed this year revealed Coca-Cola as the leading polluter of plastic bottles[2]. Quincey chalked this up to the fact they’re the leading soda producers so of course there will be more of them. With this new program, there should be a 5% reduction in plastic use making 500 million fewer bottles. Compare that to the 100 billion plastic bottles they produced last year.[3] The recovering and recycling program at Coca-Cola is the start of a very long journey. After spreading resources out, maybe we will find time for a real solution that will lower carbon emissions, prove cost effective, and reduce plastic pollution in the environment. But that’s a dream that may not ever exist.

 

[1] Ortega, Ekaitz. Ankel, Sophia, “Coca-Cola made the world’s first bottle from recycled ocean plastic waste,” Business Insider, 15 October 2019 accessed December 10, 2019

businessinsider.com/coca-cola-makes-worlds-first-bottle-from-recycled-ocean-waste-2019-10

[2] Nace, Trever, “Coca-cola Named World’s Most Polluting Brand in Plastic Waste Audit,” Forbes. 29, October 2019 accessed 10 December 2019 https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/10/29/coca-cola-named-the-worlds-most-polluting-brand-in-plastic-waste-audit/#41e1f90074e0

[3] Jack, Simon, “In the war on plastic is Coca-cola friend or foe?” BBC News, 25, October, 2019 Accessed 10 December 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-50175594

Breakthrough Bottle

Plastic bag collage on paper

18 x 24 inches

2019

Nestlé, friend or foe?

Plastic bag collage on paper

18 x 24 inches

2019

Detail Nestlé, friend or foe? 

Plastic bag collage on paper

18 x 24 inches

2019

Nestlé, friend or foe?

June 2019 Nestlé announced their Poland Spring Water bottle to be made 100% of recycled plastic[1]. This is just a marketing ploy to prey on the ignorant. You cannot make a plastic product out of 100% recycled materials. As plastic is reused, it sheds off plastic polymers, or microplastics. It makes the host plastic product become weaker and deteriorate. To reuse the host product, you need to add virgin plastics to the equation to create a usable resource.[2] Nestlé has also implemented a new wrapping for their Yes! Bars created from biodegradable paper. Though a promising solution, the company is worried the packaging will promote people to be thoughtless when tossing their wrappers. [3]

               I admire Nestlé’s concern for the population and ensuring their products are supported by consumers while sustaining the environment. Duncan Pollard, head of sustainability has stated” …we need to make sure the new packaging solutions are safe and that consumers accept them….” Ulf Mark Schneider, the CEO of Nestlé felt it was wrong to only focus on creating reusable plastics when there are so many other areas that can be used as a solution to reducing waste in all areas.[4] That’s a pretty promising report, but there is still a monster lurking in the shadows.

               Nestlé is a major polluter in the plastic industry. Last year they produced nearly 1.7 million tons of plastic. Hundreds of activists all over the world gathered to create “Plastic Monsters,” as a commentary about the plastic production.[5]

This act pushed the problem to Nestlé’s front door, leaving the blatant image for the company to ponder. As part of response to this action, Europe as declared the elimination of single use plastics by 2021.[6] By 2025, Nestlé vows to make 100% of their packaging reusable or recyclable. They especially want a focus to be made on biodegradable products, prioritizing paper. Which opens another environmental enigma, but the sustainability coordinator shows no concern for deforestation as a factor in this process.[7] So, Nestlé recognizes their issues with over production of plastic, but there is still more factors to figure out.

 

[1] “What is Nestle doing to tackle plastic packaging waste?” Nestle Good Food, Good Life. Accessed 12, December 2019, https://www.nestle.com/ask-nestle/environment/answers/tackling-packaging-waste-plastic-bottles

[2] Howard, Brian C. “5 Recycling myths busted,” National Geographic, 31 October, 2018 accessed 12, December 2019. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/5-recycling-myths-busted-plastic/

[3] Roy, Sushmita, “Nestle Launches New Biodegradable Snack Packaging,” Global Citizen, 5 July 2019, Accessed 12 December 2019 https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/nestle-launches-new-biodegradable-paper-snack-pack/

[4] Koltrowitz, Silke,“Greenpeace calls for Nestle to act over single-use plastics,” Reuters, 11 April 2019, Accessed 12, December 2019 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nestle-greenpeace/greenpeace-calls-for-nestle-to-act-over-single-use-plastics-idUSKCN1RN1X8

[5] Fela, Jen. “Plastic monsters from around the world return home to Nestle,” GREENPEACE, 24 April 2019. Accessed 12 December 2019, https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/21822/plastic-monsters-from-around-the-world-return-home-to-nestle/

[6] Rankin, Jennifer, “European parliament votes to ban single-use plastics,” The Guardian, 27 March 2019 accessed 12 December 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/27/the-last-straw-european-parliament-votes-to-ban-single-use-plastics

[7] Dayen, Capucine, “Nestle swaps throwaway plastic for throwaway paper on snack bars,” GREEN PEACE, 3 July 2019, Accessed 12 December 2019 https://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/press/7358/nestle-swaps-throwaway-plastic-for-throwaway-paper-on-snack-bars/

Detail Nestlé, friend or foe? 

Plastic bag collage on paper

18 x 24 inches

2019