In 2018, the National Geographic made waves when it launched its June cover, which featured a plastic bag stylized as an iceberg floating in the ocean. The magazine boldly asked, “Planet or plastic?,” before saying that “the 18 billion pieces of plastic that end up in the ocean each year are just the tip of the iceberg.”
The cover was shocking in its urgency but the data is not new. Last year, the same magazine released some troubling facts about plastic pollution. According to them, “half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years,” and that “production increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050.”
It can be hard to completely go plastic-free, but there are industries that are making efforts to reduce their production and consumption. Take, for example, water. There are still those who rely on plastic bottles, which in itself is an issue, but companies like Refresh are creating eco-friendly bottles that are made of 100% recyclable plastic. Once you’ve consumed the water, you can use the bottles to create pen organizers, hang them in a garden, turn it into a vase, or store small snacks. That way, it doesn’t end up in the ocean that will choke up fish and other aquatic animals.
Last month, Refresh organized a contest where they encouraged people to upcycle empty bottles. People got creative and made flower patches, pencil cases, and even piggy banks. The prize was a whopping P10,000!
As an aspiring gardener, I reused my empty plastic bottles to turn them into pots for my plants. I have basil and eggplant seedlings from MNLGrowKits and I added some soil and planted them in the bottles. All you need to do is create some small punctures at the bottom so water can freely drain. I didn’t bother joining because I have no creative spirit (just take a look at how I upcycled mine).
An added bonus of drinking Refresh is that it’s sourced from the underground water of San Pablo, Laguna, so you get natural-tasting mineral water with no weird aftertaste. Just the way nature intended.
The plastic problem is definitely alarming. There’s no going around it. But with responsible usage, we can definitely make a dent and a difference.