We should bear in mind that plastics are 100% recyclable. Pollution in our oceans and forests is not the fault of plastics, but of the people who discard the plastic items they no longer have a use for: bottles, bags, container caps and tops in general (flexible or rigid). The problem caused by plastics in the sea stems from a lack of education, respect and citizenship toward the environment, in view of the fact that, nowadays, we have access to a variety of means for collecting (waste bins) and recovering plastic (recycling plants).
A lot of people think that plastic cannot be recycled: Wrong! We have all seen and heard renowned journalists claiming that pollution is all the fault of plastics. Further, there are countless articles and documentaries telling us that plastics are bad, without mentioning other materials that are also pollutants because they do not self-recycle. Again, it is necessary to insist that it is people who cause pollution: plastic materials are 100% recyclable!
The new Spanish standard for plastic bags makes it mandatory to charge consumers for bags at shops and outlets. Charging a fee for each plastic bag is not going to solve the problem. We need to educate people in sustainable and responsible consumption, not only as far as plastic bags are concerned but in general, with all kinds of containers, whether of plastic, glass, paper, compostable materials… And this education should be based on learning to be sustainable in every aspect of consumption. Sustainability should be practiced in every situation: clothing, food, energy, water… as well as containers.
Sometimes we only look at the end of the chain of events, and at where the waste ends up. However, we should remember that any product has undergone a manufacturing process, which required the consumption of an amount of energy, in the form of water or electricity, for instance. If we manage to adopt more sustainable habits, our planet and all the species that coexist on it will suffer less from exhaustion.