While an increasing number of people are aware of the adverse effects of overconsumption of plastic, especially single-use plastic, in the country, there are several opportunities in which top-down changes can make a significant impact.
Individual consumers hold the purchasing power to make choices, through their wallet. This purchasing power is however limited when plastic-free alternatives are still limited, especially at supermarkets, when shopping for fresh produce.
In recent years, there has been an uptake of restaurants and small businesses supporting the plastic-free initiative, such as encouraging customers to bring their own reusable takeaway cups and containers as opposed to providing disposable ones.
While this has been welcomed alongside the prohibition of the sale of Styrofoam containers, there is a lot more that can be done. Though the greatest change can arguably be made through policies, I believe it may leave the will of an entire generation underappreciated.
Reducing household plastic consumption can have an even greater effect by lowering the amount of plastic available on the market. Some fresh fruits and vegetables have been designed by nature to have their own protective suits, and do not additional help from plastic. By making plastic-free produce more readily available in grocery stores, the reduction in plastic use can be insurmountable.
Understandably, there will still be consumers who do not see the direct benefit of bringing their own bags for loose produce. But making a switch from single-use plastic bags to (specifically) home-compostable bags available in stores may be beneficial not only to consumers but the grocery store’s own plastic consumption.
While we are far from the ambition in terms of plastic consumption that we are aspiring to, there is hope on the horizon. It’s not a matter of practising zero waste among the few; but many who try and lead an environmentally friendlier lifestyle.
A Concerned Zillenial