It is easy to see the damage that we have done (and continue to do, quite frankly) to the planet with our 'convenient inventions/processes'. But, have you ever wondered about the dollar amount attached to these choices?
Each straw option has a price; to the environment and to our wallets. The direct impact to our bottom line is easiest to see and first that we feel.
When we dig a bit deeper, we find that the dollar drain from our pockets is the least of our financial woes. We try and hide from the basic understanding of ecological damage, yet, as humans we need to speak to our vanity to truly evoke change.
The financial numbers collected and estimated around the world are startling. From the economic burden of plastic packaging costs to the price we pay to clean and maintain coastlines, the cost is great to essentially resuscitate the biological systems that keep balance for all living things.
Researchers have been able to figure that ocean plastic pollution costs the global economy $13 billion dollars a year, not just from single-use products but also from the amount of micro plastics in personal care products, like polymer micro beads found in toothpaste, gel, and glitter.
In 2014, the Plastic Disclosure Project and Trucost, An environmental data firm, worked with the U.N. Environmental program and produced papers to the United Nations Assembly, siting that the annual damage done to the environment in consumer goods amounts to an estimated $75 billion dollars.
Consumers and companies could save billions a year through better plastic management such as recycling and reusing. However, disclosure of plastic use is poor as less than half of the companies assessed gave true data. More needs to be done in the way of education for businesses. By putting a financial value on pollution, companies can better implement sustainable programs and will see the short-term and long-term savings.
We are still largely fossil-fuel based and the costs both economic and ecological are spread out and hidden. Scientists have discovered a new plastic threat, micro plastics, now found in high numbers in our drinking water. It isn't just marine animals that are being threatened.
Do you choose convenient over conscientious?
Each time you forget to bring a reusable shopping bag or coffee mug, you are not only adding to the global waste problem, you are creating financial strain. A $30 tumbler doesn't seem like too much a price to pay knowing the bigger number shared by us all. Each choice we make has a price. We have a moral responsibility to make better choices.
What choices are you going to start making today to reduce the impact you have on global waste? Do you have shopping totes at the ready? Do you take your lunch to work instead of eating out? Have you found the many ways to reuse and recycle mason jars?
Share with us your eco-friendly tricks and tips!