Diving into the company Liquid Death and their goal to put an end to the plastic problem.
If the twentieth century will be remembered for anything, it will undoubtedly be plastics. These widely used materials are as versatile as they are durable, permeating all facets of our daily lives. Everything from television sets to toothbrushes utilize plastics in some way.
As a society, we produce approximately 300 million tons of plastics annually. Although many have proposed more sustainable solutions, none have been as widely adopted as would be necessary to replace plastic as a whole. Ultimately, plastic is a wonder material that can be produced cheaply, molded into various configurations, and withstand the elements and extreme conditions.
Going far beyond traditional markers of human history, plastic can now be found in geological records. Plastic layers in rock strata and geological formations will be an indicator of human activity for millennia to come.
But the qualities that make plastic so useful have also made it a detriment to the environment. Plastic production releases chemical pollutants that poison animals and plants, while plastic garbage piles up and takes unimaginable time spans to break down. The natural world has proven ill-equipped to handle plastics, and we have fallen short of containing their impact.
While it is important to recognize why plastic has become so widely adopted, which is due in large part to ignorance rather than malintent, it often goes without saying that plastic has had an awful impact on the environment. Many of us have seen first-hand the plastic litter and trash that pile up when careless passersby dispose of their waste in the natural environment.
But even in landfills, where trash is deliberately placed to decompose, plastic often builds up without disintegrating. Some plastic products can take up to a thousand years to break down, but even when they are broken down, microplastics still overwhelm the environment.
Plastics usually don’t decompose on the molecular level; instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces until all that is left are small molecules of plastic.
On a macro scale, plastic garbage covers the landscape, blocking sunlight and preventing the circulation of air, halting biological processes. For example, plastic debris covering a river or valley may stop plant life from growing. Plastic also disturbs animal life, who mistake these materials for food and consume them.
Once ingested, plastic blocks their digestive tract and may cause death. Some animals may even get trapped in plastic trash. However, once broken down on the micro-scale, plastic is just as detrimental to their wellbeing. Microplastics are often consumed by animals, building up in their bodies and affecting their health. Large amounts of microplastics have been linked to deformities and cancers, as well as chemical and hormonal imbalances in animals.
The environments that are most susceptible to the influence of plastic are aquatic, as plastics readily accumulate and circulate in these areas.
Most of our waste ultimately ends up in our waterways and eventually the ocean. Although this started as a gradual process with an unseen impact, we have reached a tipping point in recent years where the consequences of plastic abuse have become apparent.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one such example, a floating island three times the size of France made of plastic in the middle of the pacific ocean. This was created from plastic fishing nets, industrial products, and garbage. Plastic in the environment has caused, as previously mentioned, great damage to natural flora and fauna. However, it is the continued accumulation of this plastic that now threatens the world.
Every sustainable solution to plastic pollution has been halted or underdeveloped. Although plastic was initially a material that was simply under examined and overused, it has now become a deliberate pollutant with multiple viable alternatives readily available.
The only solution to the plastic problem, when its incredible lifespan and durability are considered, is implementing as many sustainable solutions as possible. This is necessary on both the private and commercial levels, as both sectors contribute to substantial plastic pollution.
As companies rush to get ahead of the green movement and reduce their impact on the environment, decreasing and eliminating plastic consumption has become an important initiative. However, brands that were born and developed with sustainability in mind have a huge leg up. Among them is Liquid Death, a company that sells the last thing you would expect from a sustainable company; water.
Avoiding the pollution pit of plastics, Liquid Death sells their water in more environmentally friendly aluminum cans. But Liquid Death takes it a step further, donating $0.05 to ocean recovery per can purchased, on top of partnering with various environmental agencies to spread awareness and undertake other initiatives. Other companies have taken on a similar strategy with varying levels of success, but all following a sustainability first model.
Although little can be feasibly done to resolve the issues of plastic already in the environment, reducing and stopping plastic production is a big step in the right direction. Over a more extended period of time, plastic cleanup and control in gradual phases may help consult this issue.
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