Global Threats,  Land Pollution,  Ocean Pollution,  Water Pollution

The Plastic Footprint

By The Editors

Plastic pollution is a major global threat.  Plastics are durable, degrade very slowly and may persist in the environment for hundreds or even thousands of years, resulting in the increasing accumulation of plastic debris in our seas.  The best solution to the problem would be to produce and consume less plastic.

However, plastic production is on the rise.  According to PlasticsEurope, worldwide plastics production rose to 280 million tonnes in 2011, representing around 4% increase from 2010, when 270 million tonnes of plastics were produced.  From 2010 to 2016, global plastics consumption is expected to grow by an average of about 4 % each year.

What to do then?  The Plastic Disclosure Project offers one solution that, along with many other interventions, may help alleviate the problem.  The model for this initiative is the Carbon Disclosure Project, which motivates companies to disclose their impact on environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them.

Similarly, the Plastic Disclosure Project  encourages companies to assess their plastic footprint along with that of their suppliers and service providers.

The video below, from the Plastic Disclosure Project, shows the global impact of plastic pollution and explains how assessing the plastic footprint raises awareness of the problem and helps companies to develop innovative strategies for reducing their environmental impact.


  • FurElise

    Even though I have heard about the patch in the pacific before, it is still astonishing that there is plastic spread out through the ocean twice the size of Texas. This patch is creating a serious problem for the marine life and continues to grow as the consumption of plastic products continues to increase. Like it was said before, I am sure that plastic companies are well aware of their plastic footprint, but are blinded by the cash flow from production. Since we cannot count on the plastic companies, the first thing to do would be to educate the population. Until recently, I had no knowledge of the plastic patch and I’m sure that the majority of the population has never heard of it. Though there are many initiatives to be taken to help fix this problem, the first step is to simply inform the general public.

  • Jbruno1

    I feel as though companies are aware of their impacts on the environment and even though they are knowingly accumulating to the rapid increase of waste they urn a blind eye. Companies for the most part are blinded by profit and potential that their products represent and rather seek a bigger paycheck. To them, actively taking an impact to decrease the amount of plastic is counterproductive to their company and they see it as a negatie correlation that will ultimately raise awareness to consumers. Awareness that will disrupt their cash flow and weaken their company all together. As the video stated; recycling, creating new ideas of design, and using alternative materials are all great methods to decrease our plastic in the environment but we’ve known of the methods fr a great length of time but companies still mass produce plastic, in fact an increase of 4% this year alone. In order to effectively help the environment we need to take action and ensure that this message gets across. If we cant influence the companies we need to reach the larger target, the consumers; so that they understand the impact every plastic bottle and plastic bag is responsible for. A more influential response form of action needs to occur to effectively decrease the amount of Plastic waste that accumulates.

    • ErinnGoBragh

      I completely agree. Companies actually go as far as to sue organizations that raise awareness of the damaging effects plastic has on the environment. The lawsuits are called Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPP). The industry filed a SLAPP lawsuit against ChicoBag, the reusable bag company founded by Andy Keller. They said that his bags caused irreversible damage to their business by giving their product a bad name. We need more people like Andy Keller who will stand up to these big companies that bully us around as they sit on their piles of money.
      I love the character he made called the Bag Monster. I think it really gets the message across. I was completely shocked when I first saw that. I never realized how many plastic bags I used in a single year. I always bring my reusable bag with me shopping ever since.

  • Haley M

    Any efforts to reduce the plastic that poses a threat to marine life and society is worth mentioning. With companies working together to brainstorm tactics such as these, it could serve as a stepping stone to accomplish the goal at hand. Citizens need to be continuously educated so that the ideas the companies come up with are effective. Many times I have witnessed people throw a plastic bottle in the trash can as opposed to the recycling bin right next to the garbage. This could be either because they do not care or they simply do not know the negative effects of plastic we experience globally. Public awareness and education can be the determining factor between success and failure of the plastic footprint intentions.

    • bcastro3

      Its all about education and demonstrating the negative outcomes of our actions. Saying that, I feel as for a long time organizations have been trying to “educate” citizens but thats not enough. Although its awesome that there are so many organizations trying to make an impact on our environment we need even more organizations and more people that are willing to educate those that are totally unaware. I travel to a developing country almost once a year and I notice how different the idea of recycling is there. Actually, there is none! Almost no one recycles and there are no designated areas to recycle. The world needs to come together and make sure that every country and citizen receives as much and equal education on the effect of our actions. As difficult as that sounds, it has to be done for everyones benefit. Also, we need the government to help out and stop the big plastic consuming companies from creating more waste and instead help with the cleaning and creation of new ways to store their products in. The problems has to be solved from the top in order to see change.

  • Alejaaa21

    It’s mesmerizing to see the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans, more specifically the Pacific Ocean. I don’t think we as global citizens ever think about just how much plastic we use in our everyday routine. The water bottles we drink out of or the plastic shopping bags in which we place our groceries, what’s to do with them after they’ve been used? The first thing that comes to mind when trying to figure out a way in which we can reduce plastic pollution is to recycle, but after what I’ve seen in the video it comes off as though only a small portion of the population actually takes the time to recycle plastic. I believe it is important to inform the American audience of what’s really going on in the Pacific and the effect it is having on our ecosystem and what we can do to help, because as I was once oblivious to this matter I believe there are many others who have never even heard about the Great Pacific garbage patch.

  • J Laurent

    Do companies that produce plastics calculate their own plastic footprint? This is a huge industry with a strong lobby presence.

  • Nadouna

    After watching this, I never knew it was possible for a huge chunk of plastic twice the size as Texas can be stuck in the ocean. It really opens up your eyes to think how we’re harming the marine life and our environment.To help solve this, anyone can do something simple as getting the word out and getting a community group to help clean the mess, reuse our plastic bottles, recycle, and etc.

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