Every year we ingest 50 thousand microplastics especially through bottled water. We consume food that is “covered” in plastic packaging: we can’t buy tomatoes without a plastic box; we drink water from plastic bottles, and we got used to the gesture of “unwrapping” every time we have to eat something. But where does all the plastic go? 8 million tons of plastic waste is being poured into the oceans. It is as if every minute a truck full of plastic pours plastic into the ocean.
In the world every year 300 million tons of plastic are produced with an important growth that has led to increase the production twenty times as much in the last 50 years. China is the major producer of plastic followed by Europe. Meanwhile, according to the last report of the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Italy is the first European country for pre capita consumption of plastic bottles. The leader that every year conquers with its 178 litres per citizen. Do we really need all this plastic?
WHO RISKS MORE?
Food packaging but also the contact with everyday objects expose us to the unaware ingestion of phthalate and bisphenol A, plasticisers and additives that are classified as endocrine disruptors. Chemical substances that have an impact on our health especially on younger people’s health.
The confirmation of their presence in the organisms of Italian children and teenagers
comes from the Institute of health thanks to the study LIFE PERSUADED that was able to connect the levels of plastics observed in urines with infant diseases (early puberty, thelarche and obesity). According to the data analysed by the researchers of ISSand CRN of Pisa, the 100% of the children who underwent the analysis, aged between 4 and 14, confirmed the presence of phthalates in urines and the 76% revealed the presence of Bisphenol A. These data were already published by an English research published February last year by Exeter University that confirmed the presence of Bisphenol A in the urines of 86% of the children.
A PLASTIC FREE EUROPEAN POLICY
On June 5ththe European parliament issued a directive (UE) 2019/904 to reduce the effect of certain plastic products on our environment. The aim is to prevent and reduce the effect of certain plastic products on our environment (especially the sea) and on our health, promoting the transition towards a circular economy with innovative and sustainable business models, products and materials.
While we wait for governments to activate policies that lead to the reduction of plastic, we can begin initiatives or actions in our everyday life that can already contribute to the reduction of plastic and with a better waste management.
WHAT TO DO AS CITIZENS
As individuals we can act in a more conscious way by focusing our choices on solutions that don’t involve plastic. Such as: changing the way we go groceries shopping by choosing products that don’t use plastic packaging. In addition to this, there are 6 simple actions:
- Dispose plastic waste in the differentiated collection and dispose the products responsibly after use
- Remove the use of disposable plastic plates, glasses and straws
- Use a reusable water bottle with tap water
- Avoid toothpaste or other products that may contain microplastics
- Use reusable bags to go groceries shopping
- Preserve food in reusable containers, better if made of glass
WHAT COMPANIES CAN DO
- Remove plastic bottles
- Install water dispensers that are connected to the water supply network
- Provide break areas with containers to dispose waste
- Use paper cups instead of plastic cups
- Use the post-consumer compacting machine
- Reduce or remove over packed snacks
WHAT SCHOOL AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION CAN DO
Institutions have an important role in this matter as well since that this improvement is above all a “cultural improvement” that goes through an educational process. Therefore, schools have an important responsibility and can promote choices that lead to a gradual removal of plastic use and spread among families good “plastic free” practices.
Municipalities can do a lot to create sustainable invitations to tender for the service of school meals that incorporates the CAM, especially to provide the use of raw materials without plastic packaging. This not only would reduce the use of plastic, but it would also avoid the use of processed food. This action improves our planet and the health of the children.