One of the materials used to make LØCI sneakers recycled PET plastic – but what’s the big deal? You can only really appreciate how good it is to recycle plastic when you know about why single-use plastic is so harmful to the environment.
Firstly, what are single-use plastic items? They’re items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. So, this includes straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic food containers and plastic coffee cup lids.
The United Nations Environment Programme says that of the world’s nine billion tonnes of plastic produced, only nine percent gets recycled. The rest mostly ends up in landfills or our water bodies, like rivers, seas and oceans. This is terrible for us and terrible for nature.
Plastic isn’t biodegradable. It slowly breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics. And as it breaks down, the toxic chemicals used to manufacture plastic gets into the soil and water that animals use. They eventually eat it and the microplastics gets transferred into the animal tissue guessing no one asked for a side of microplastics when they ordered that juicy steak or beautifully filleted fish. But that’s how microplastic eventually end up in the human food chain. Not appetizing at all! This microplastic that ends up inside us can physically damage organs and leach hazardous chemical can harm our immune function and have a negative effect on our growth and reproduction.
The wonderful creatures living in our seas and oceans are particularly at risk from plastic. Things like plastic bags and straws choke wildlife and block animals’ stomachs. Turtles and dolphins, for example, often mistake plastic bags for food. There are lots of heartbreaking images and videos of dead whales with plastic in their stomachs or turtles trapped inside plastic bottle rings. One video that went viral was a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nostril. Unless we take drastic action now, it’s expected that the amount of plastic littering the world’s oceans will triple within a decade.
There needs to be a way of cutting down on our creation and use of plastic. So, targeting single-use plastic is a step in the right direction. The world is already waking up and taking action. In 2019, the European Union passed a law banning single-use plastic. This includes a target for plastic bottles which means EU countries will have to achieve a 90 percent collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25 percent of recycled content by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. Canada, where less than 10 percent of plastic is recycled, also plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021. According to the United Nations, 180 countries have reached a deal to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the world's oceans.
As individuals, we can do our bit too. Try to avoid buying plastic and if you really must, search high and low for a recycle bin. And when it comes to fashion, choose brands like LØCI.