Littorary Signs Global Plastic Pollution Petition
By Romero Halloway
Littorary has signed a petition created by the World Wildlife Fund aimed at encouraging the United Nations to create a global and legally binding agreement to stop copious amounts of plastic from leaking into our oceans and waterways.
The individual petition stipulates the agreement should set strict goals for each nation regarding the amount of plastic that ends up in waterways and should also require each nation form an action plan to reach stated goals.
The World Wildlife Fund, in conjunction with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Boston Consulting Group, has also created a parallel petition for businesses who use plastics in their supply chain to advocate for a global treaty that would standardize plastic production and recycling to avoid the kind of cross-border issues that currently persist.
“The business call specifically targets key businesses across the plastics value chain at either a national or international level,” said WWF’s Global Plastics Policy Manager, Eirik Lindebjerg.
Littorary supports the impetus behind creating and disseminating both petitions, but we signed the former to have a seat at the table and voice our concerns about letting the plastics industry police itself.
We believe it is vital to advocate for solutions that the plastics value chain is not incentivized to make, for example, bans on single-use plastics where appropriate and requiring fees for single-use plastic service.
Single-use plastics are the number one source for ocean litter and the lack of standardization is not the reason only 10% of all plastics ever created have been recycled. In many cases, there is a lack of economic incentive to use recycled materials rather than create virgin plastic.
Oil and gas companies, which extract the petroleum resources that create the foundation for plastic products are not interested in recycling because it cuts into their profits, which rely on the creation of virgin plastic.
Littorary feels strongly that corporations, which are earning huge profits from the creation of products that cause external harm to society and the environment, should be held financially responsible for remediating those problems. For instance, the world’s top polymer and resin producers should bear the cost of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Instead, this responsibility is passed onto consumers, taxpayers, and nonprofits.
While the business case for signing the treaty could move the issue forward in terms of public awareness and government commitments, Littorary remains concerned the petition could also provide cover to the very culprits who are causing the harm.
We applaud efforts to increase the profile of the plastic pollution problem and we are heartened that corporations want to increase their sense of responsibility around the issue, but we also urge vigilance.
Furthermore, we firmly believe the solution to the plastic pollution problem is not more uniform recycling standards, but a movement away from plastics to alternative and more sustainable materials wherever possible.
Plastics are integrated into daily life and have some benefits in durable goods, like electrical wire insulation, but plastics have no business in single use disposable packaging. The infrastructure for broad based recycling does not exist because the business model is broken. Shipping garbage around the world to recycle it causes more harm than good. Consumers don’t care enough to meet the lofty recycling targets needed to mitigate the worst impacts of plastic waste. All recycling systems will have some component of inefficiency and leakage resulting in waste, incineration, and pollution.
We believe a global treaty is a positive step toward confronting the problem and must include reducing plastic production to be successful, but we also recognize the market has a role to play. It’s why we are singularly focused on bringing compelling alternatives to plastic products to market.
Littorary is committed to making sophisticated products that enhance food and beverage consumption without the environmental burden of plastics. We believe technology and design innovations can revolutionize how Americans and the world experience sustenance through better products in concert with the health of the environment. Please stay tuned to our website, blog, and upcoming Kickstarter page as we unveil a product fully capable of providing the convenience and sustainability that will consign the concept of disposable plastics to the garbage heap of history.