Most of us are familiar with the term “carbon footprint“, or the overall impact human industrial activities have on global climate change with respect to the release of carbon into the atmosphere.  Launched in September 2010 as a part of the Clinton Global Initiative,  The Plastic Disclosure Project introduces the idea of a “plastic footprint” which attempts to formally calculate the effects of plastic use and consumption on the ecosystem.

Considering that nearly 90% of plastics worldwide are not recycled, many of these synthetics find their ways into the environment by way of landfills, improper disposal, leeching and degradation.  The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that 7,000,000 tons of garbage reaches the sea every year, the vast majority of which originates from land.  Large aggregations of man-made debris or “garbage patches” accumulate in and around major oceanic currents, some encompassing areas nearly twice the size of Texas.

Beginning this year, annual reports will be compiled from data contributed by participating industries and companies who volunteer to disclose their plastic use.  These documents will then be made available to governments, public and educational agencies in order to spread awareness of plastic utilization and assess its economic and environmental repercussions.  Almost any company can sign on as a participant of the PDP, although most of the investigation’s focus will be centered on the private goods sector.

It is the PDP’s hope that once listed companies agree to join the study, that enough information can eventually be collected to generate a picture of how plastics are being employed and what alternative technologies are available.  By generating a plastic footprint using baseline metrics, the PDP strives to encourage industries to reduce production waste, choose alternative materials, improve design, incorporate more recycled content into their products, recycle, and decrease the gross amount of plastics entering the environment.

At Bambu Batu we offer reusable bamboo utensils, plastic-free water bottles, organic cotton produce bags, and bamboo canvas tote bags, and we encourage our customers to carry their own reusable shopping bags. How do you on an individual level try to decrease your use of plastics?