Here at Bower Collective we are constantly scanning the data and reporting on the plastic waste crisis at both a UK and international level. One of the key reports that came out last year was ‘Breaking the Plastic Wave: Top Findings for Preventing Plastic Pollution’ ,which was published by Pew Charitable Trust and the Systemiq consultancy.
The headline message of the report is familiar - ultimately that there needs to be a complete, system-wide overhaul to address the huge volume of plastic that is currently ending up in the oceans. They summarise that:
“An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year. Without immediate and sustained action, that amount will nearly triple by 2040, to 29 million metric tons per year. That’s the same as dumping 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of plastic on every meter of coastline around the world.”
This makes for pretty gloomy reading, but they do focus on outlining the range of solutions and interventions we need to focus on to reverse this trend.
Top of their list for solutions is “Eliminate avoidable plastic use and expand reuse and refill systems” which is at the heart of the Bower model. The report comments that:
“A reduction of plastic production—through elimination, the expansion of consumer reuse options, or new delivery models—is the most attractive solution from environmental, economic, and social perspectives. It offers the biggest reduction in plastic pollution, often represents a net saving, and provides the highest mitigation opportunity in GHG emissions.”
This is exactly what we are doing at Bower with the support of you - our incredible customer community. We are expanding consumer reuse and refill and building an innovative closed loop delivery model.
We are excited to share with you that we recently won funding from Innovate UK as part of their ‘Designing Sustainable Plastic Solutions” fund. This funding is helping us to design our next generation packaging which will make the reuse and refill process even more efficient and scalable than the system we currently have in place.
The report also highlights a range of other initiatives to address the issue, ranging from alternative materials to increased investment in recycling infrastructure and collection. They also rightly point out that one size does not fit all and that what works in countries like the UK would look very different in South East Asia for instance.
Sometimes when you read reports like this it can feel like an overwhelming task to address this pressing environmental crisis. But as we always say at Bower, just take it one step at a time - living sustainably is a journey, not a destination.
Please keep on returning your packaging to us so we can process and recycle it, and we always welcome any suggestions from you as to how we can continually improve our service and efforts to eliminate plastic waste.