It is all about plastics in the environment. The sheer volume of plastic created to feed human’s demand for single use plastic is very problematic.
I am sure you have seen pictures of bottles and face masks washed up on beaches in tropical places, or polar regions, plastic gets everywhere. . . .
BUT my main concern is that as plastics break down in to tiny tiny bits, they get mixed in with water and soils, and will be almost impossible to remove.
It is bad enough that sea food, and vegetables now contain plastic, but the plastics theme selves also have nasty chemicals in them, that poison plants and animals.
If you are familiar with PCBs or DDT, then you will know that persistent chemicals (such as phthalates in plastic) in the environment, “bio-accumulate” up the food chain and cause all sorts of horrible problems.
The problem with stamping out single use plastic, is that quite often removal of their use has a knock on effect elsewhere.
Example 1 : If we swapped from plastic carrier bags, to paper ones, where would the wood pulp come from? Even if just 2% of wood pulp came from unsustainable sources, then owing to the amount of bags needed (millions per day) a lot of trees would need to be chopped down. Trees that are currently sucking up CO2, and help out with climate change.
Example 2: A cucumber goes rotten very quickly. To make them last longer they shrink wrap them. To grow a cucumber might take 100g CO2, and to wrap it a further 10g CO2. If you don’t wrap them and more than 10% goes rotten, then your avoidance of plastic is causing a climate change.
I think the demand for single use plastic is driven my human’s “I want everything right now” attitude. Perhaps not eat cucumbers in the winter. Perhaps wait until you get home to have a drink of water (not buy a bottle).
Single use plastic is also linked strongly to human’s desire for safety and hygiene. Why do we not drink from water fountains anymore? Why do we buy a bottle of water instead. Why do hospitals use single use surgical plastics, and not wash and reuse equipment like the olden days?
In the extreme: Perhaps let a few more people die from disease instead of making 100’s billions of single use plastic masks . . . . tough choices, that go against the very grain of ethics and consumer choice.