There is one topic that has moved me for a long time, and that is environmental protection and sustainability.
There are many political approaches to this issue. And a great many topics fall under this major heading: environmental protection.
Now, in my opinion, not all of the measures that politicians want to implement or have already implemented make sense. However, I consider the further bans on plastic now planned to be very good and, above all, extremely important.
I haven't really paid attention to my “plastic consumption” in the last few decades, because I was firmly convinced that our plastic waste is recycled effectively and almost completely clean. After all, we have the red or yellow bin. Meanwhile, however, I know that this is not the case, or only to a limited extent. An absolute majority of our plastic waste is neither recycled nor can it be effectively recycled at all. This is i.a. because it is a composite material that cannot be separated again or that the effort would be too great.
Instead we export our garbage to distant countries, mostly to Asia. By 2017, China absorbed a large part of the world's plastic waste. When the Chinese stopped doing this, other countries had to be found. Now the problem has shifted to Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam and other countries. Unfortunately, the garbage there is often illegally incinerated or it ends up in the sea. Both the worst possible options.
The tragedy lies in the fact that we often do not notice these problems or they are simply not addressed enough. Unfortunately, there are far too many companies and organizations that are not interested in consumers being informed and then possibly reconsidering their plastic consumption.
Microplastics, perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS for short, unfortunately added a shovel to the whole. Because these microparticles are now not only in our groundwater, in rivers and lakes, but also in our bodies. A recently published study (1), which was also presented by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), asked children between 3 and 17 years of age on the proportions of the above Substances in the blood examined. In one fifth of the children, the value was above the value set by a commission up to which health impairment can be ruled out.
PFAS are often found in coated coffee mugs, in outdoor jackets or in pans. In short, in all coated objects. Here I tie in with the text a little further above: A large amount of our plastic waste is composite. Unfortunately, if they are recycled at all, these micropollutants too often fall through the filter systems.
The good news: UBA advocates a ban on these substances across Europe. Hopefully they will be successful with it.
But let's go back to our everyday life. It is admittedly difficult to identify all these substances in time or to replace them with alternatives. Fortunately, there are more and more products that are sustainable and made from environmentally friendly materials. Small changes in your everyday life can make a big difference. In Germany e.g. Approx. 190,000,000 (190 million) plastic toothbrushes are bought annually and of course thrown away after use. This corresponds to a little more than 2000 tons of plastic waste. Globally, you don't even want to imagine the numbers. So if everyone living in Germany were to switch to alternatives made of wood or, even better, bamboo, one could save a really large amount of plastic waste.
I often hear things like: “Yes, but your bamboo toothbrush doesn't have an oscillating head, I don't want it!” But the fact is: Our toothbrush is a great way to brush your teeth. It does exactly what it should. Nothing more, nothing less. Therefore, we should all ask ourselves whether we can not respond to small changes, even if they do not quite correspond to the product used so far. I mean yes! Definitely!
Let's tackle it - for us and for future generations.
(1) Source of the study: Here