We know how much plastic pollutes but it is always very difficult to have the perception of how, day by day, it is hurting us and our planet.The data tell us that in the next 10 years the waste that flows into waterways and then ends up in the oceans will reach 22 million tons, perhaps as much as 58 million tons per year. And this news already consider the ambitious commitments of governments, industries and associations aimed at reducing plastic pollution (source: National Geographic).
Jenna Jambeck, an engineering professor at the University of Georgia published an alarming figure in 2015 and provided a rather effective analogy: we have to imagine the equivalent of a garbage truck tipping an entire load of waste into the ocean every minute, for every day of the year. The image is truly impressive.
We are all aware of the plastic island in the Pacific Ocean but few know that it is also forming in the Mediterranean Sea, right next to us. The images of seas and beaches submerged in waste make our hearts tighten, especially thinking of future generations. The theme is that they irreparably damage marine species, leading them to extinction, in addition to the fact that microplastics are ingested by fish which then end up in our dishes.
The issue is so sensitive that even the UN has already launched "Clean Seas" a few years ago, a global cleansing and awareness campaign on the health of the world's seas. It involves both businesses and ordinary citizens.
The promotional items market is also paying close attention to ecological issues. In themselves, corporate gifts are never born with the intention of being disposable, on the contrary, we try to study communication campaigns precisely to make use of the object of the promotion as much as possible. However, actual goal is to use recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic, polyester or recycled cotton, biodegradable items or products that are composed of agricultural waste materials as well as plastic.
An interesting research that we have recently developed concerns the possibility of creating objects that come from the recycling of materials found in the sea or on the beaches or avoiding PET using bioplastics.
An example is econylon, a regenerated nylon made entirely from ocean and landfill waste, such as industrial plastic, fabric scraps from clothing manufacturers, old carpets and "ghost nets". Just think that eco nylon could replace all nylon fabrics, having the same identical characteristics.
There are also associations such as “Waste Free Oceans” or “4Ocean” that deal with the recovery of plastic and glass waste from the sea and beaches and create, through recycling, objects of common use. The colored bracelets with really nice small transparent balls to give for a promotion are now famous, they carry a really important meaning.
An alternative to the recycling of plastic materials is the use of PLA (Polylactic Acid). It is derived from the transformation of the sugars present in corn, beet, sugar cane and other natural and renewable materials and not derived from petroleum (unlike traditional plastic). This bioplastic is biodegradable and compostable so it degrades rapidly in the soil once the necessary temperature and humidity conditions are reached, without leaving microplastics or damaging the environment.
The solutions to structure a promotional campaign with a careful use of plastic are available and absolutely must be taken into consideration. The will to do good to the planet combined with the awareness of the message that is transmitted through that gift must be in the top of mind of those who communicate through objects. And we are thoughtful fans of this line of thinking.