I understand the justified accusations, we can be scared but panic is the last thing to do ! #Sustainability is a more complex subject than people think.
Obviously, acting as if there is nothing amiss would be wrong, I believe there is a balance between these 2 types of reaction.
We, as adults and experienced people, know it’s better to take a breath and think before rushing. For packaging, many solutions and technologies are being testing and implementing. We are aware that there is no one unique solution and, to solve the equation, we must collaborate within the entire supply chain. But there are still 2 misleading information:
First: Plastic is no bad! Please stop the myth! Having a plastic free world is a pure non sense ! why ? because plastics exist in the nature – “plastic” is the name of a family of products, called polymers, with organic or petrochemical origin. For example, LATEX (single use gloves for ex.) comes from rubber tree. AMBER is an oleoresin present in the nature. You can make your own plastic by using natural products: Galalith (or Casolith in the Netherlands) is a plastic simply produced by mixing milk and vinegar (or formaldehyde)!
Second: The actual problem is the misuse of plastic and mismanagement of plastic waste after use. Did someone try to understand why we found so many plastics in the ocean? if we do not know the answer it will be difficult to plan a sustainable solution to avoid the issue.
More, to tackle #marine waste, Single Use Plastic Ban seems more a panic decision than a thoughtful decision. Indeed, plastic will last more tahn 200 years in the ocean, so banning a straw in France in 2019 will not solve the problem! Contrariwise, cleaning systems for the ocean, collecting and recovering all kinds of plastics on the beach help, even if it is perceived like a drop in the ocean … This is the difference between an action which has no immediate impact & action which will solve the problem (how to recover the current waste?)
We would need to think seriously to plan (our) future.
1. Infrastructures to collect and manage waste should be the urgent priority.
2. Streamline to few types of plastics, develop mono-material to facilitate recycling / composting of the packaging
3. Collaborate with all stakeholders to rethink the supply chain for ex :
To have reusable packaging in the B to B business
Work on shelf life: Does it make sense to have a Shelf life of 3 years for some food products, eg chocolate , vegetable oil? do we really need very high barrier and performance for these type of products?
4. Do not replace plastic with something else without having considered impacts in all the supply chain steps & impact on product/food waste.
5. Think cradle to cradle cycle: bio based polymers should go back to nature as nutriment - petrol based polymers should be reused or recycled as technical nutriments.
These are not easy paths, but do not panic and let’s plan !