Top global packaging design news website The Dieline features Sian Sutherland’s calls for a Plastic Free Aisle in supermarkets.
A decade ago carbon offsetting was the in thing. Multinationals queued up to invest in projects that would delay the onset of manmade climate change. Even activities as polluting as Formula 1 racing could be declared carbon neutral if its proprietors were willing to dig deep enough. Signed in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol encouraged sovereign states to get in on the act, with both industrialised and emerging nations ploughing billions into carbon offset schemes.
While the noughties (2000-2009) heralded a period of decisive government and corporate action to call time on climate change, the crisis of plastic pollution was barely on the radar for most. Statistics published last month revealed that mankind has produced more than nine billion tonnes of plastic since the Second World War. According to McKinsey, the global quantity of plastic in the ocean could nearly double to 250 million tonnes within eight years.
While carbon offsetting represents an innovative solution to global warming, few such quick fixes exist for our collective plastic problem. Companies can’t simply write a cheque to absolve themselves of responsibility for the endless reams of plastic that end up suffocating our ocean, blighting our countryside and poisoning our food. Once a plastic bottle, bag or carton is manufactured, it stays in the environment forever.
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