Here’s a fascinating statistic. It is estimated, with a fair degree of accuracy, that around nine billion tonnes of plastic materials have been created since their massed introduction, and of that amount, around 5.4 billion tonnes have been consigned to landfill or stuck in the oceans. And if all of that poorly disposed of plastic were clingfilm, we could wrap the entire planet!
Plainly, we have reached a crisis point in our use of non-sustainable materials, and though we are now starting to wake up to the fact, is it too late? Have we started doing enough to not only halt this damage, but reverse it too?
Plastics are one thing – and an issue that is so apparent because they are obvious in the oceans and landfill – but waste isn’t the most pressing issue that we are facing. There are far bigger sustainability problems facing the planet, including:
Water. There should be enough freshwater available for all 6.8 billion (currently) of us, but one-fifth of the world’s population live in areas of physical water scarcity, and it’s getting worse year on year.
Deforestation. Forests cover thirty percent of the planet’s land, and are the powerhouses for reducing carbon emissions, but we continue to destroy the forests of the Amazon basin and the Far East at an unsustainable rate.
Energy by-products. The waste products from energy production continue to destroy the planet, and fracking appears to be instrumental in earthquakes in the Mid-West of the US.
Global warming. There is evidence that the sea level has risen by 8” since 1880, and will rise a further 15” by 2050 as warming accelerates, putting millions of people living at lower levels at high risk.
Here at Hawkins & Brimble, we recognise the need to not only create sustainable packaging and products, but to generally make less of it too. All of our packaging is now constructed from recycled cardboard materials, and we ensure that most of our suppliers are located in the UK, reducing our carbon footprint substantially. We are doing our bit but we recognise that we can do more, as can everyone else. We all have our part to play in saving the environment, and it is not too late to do it.
Driving climate change is like steering an oil tanker rather than a racing car: you have to think about where you want to steer to, start the action, and wait while the massive vessel starts to respond. We are now looking ahead and know that we need to alter course, and have started to do so, but it will take time before our actions show signs of going the way that we want.
The proverbial ship of the environment is going to take some time – and a lot of effort to deflect away from the potential catastrophe that we are facing, but if we all play our part, the task becomes easier. Over the coming months we will be highlighting issues with the environment and what can be done to turn back the clock.
For more information about how we at Hawkins & Brimble are reducing our impact on the environment please see our sustainability page.