The Problem with Plastic – Cutting Plastic Pollution with Axiom

Plastic Free July

We’re now over halfway into the year, and this July we’re kickstarting the month by celebrating Plastic Free July!

This is a global movement that unites millions of people and mobilises them to be a part of the solution to plastic pollution. Read on to discover why this initiative was established, and how your business can contribute and play its part in reducing plastic waste.

The Problem With Plastic

Plastic is instrumental in climate change, and is responsible for generating large quantities of harmful greenhouse gases that are contributing to widespread environmental damage. Almost all plastic is derived from materials (like ethylene and propylene) made from fossil fuels.

Extracting, transporting and manufacturing plastic creates billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases which trap heat, cause air pollution and contribute to climate change. The consequences of using plastic range from the destruction of natural habitats, loss of wildlife and landscape changes.

This is already problematic for our planet, but how we use, manage and dispose of the plastic in circulation is further exacerbating the problem. It is estimated that 12 million tonnes of plastic are poured into the ocean every year – with 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.

These are distressing figures – resulting from a combination of overproduction and a convenience culture that favours single-use plastics. Less than a third of all plastic in the UK is recycled, meaning a large proportion of it ends up either languishing in a landfill, or in waste incinerators which release more harmful chemicals into the air.

Plastic Free July – A Closer Look

Established in 2011, Plastic Free July 2022 is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation which envisages a world free of plastic waste and campaigns accordingly to make this happen. Since then, it has grown in popularity and is now a highly influential environmental campaign that encourages people from across the globe to take action against plastic pollution both in and beyond the month of July.

It does this through spreading awareness of the damage that plastic pollution is causing, and suggesting different ideas and methods that people can engage with and do to reduce their plastic consumption at work and home.

From small actions such as purchasing reusable coffee cups through to removing plastics from supply chains – the foundation targets both individuals and businesses and provides a wealth of resources to promote the values and aims of the initiative. 

UN SDG 14 and Plastic Pollution

The need to reduce plastic pollution ties in with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.

It is relevant particularly to Goal 14, which is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” Given that plastics – especially microplastics – are one of the biggest threats to the sea and its resources, it’s important that we act now. Healthy oceans and seas are integral to our existence, covering 70% of our planet and acting as a crucial source for food, energy and water.

These goals provide a useful blueprint for businesses to advance their green credentials and reduce their carbon footprint.

Working towards the goals isn’t just beneficial for a business’ sustainability, but also its reputation as it shows a commitment to a greener future.

Practicing What We Preach

At Axiom, we are doing our part for Plastic Free July – by making a few small changes that we aim to keep forever.

The nature of our business fortunately means we don’t rely heavily on plastic or depend on it to provide our services. However, we’ve committed to ditch single use plastic cutlery across the office, and are actively looking to source non-plastic stationery wherever possible.

This extends to our personal lives too, where we will examining our own habits and looking to reduce plastic use where possible – at home, and when out and about.

We will also continue to provide our specialist software and work closely alongside our sister company, Gateway Procurement, who support businesses in making their supply chain more sustainable. This can include reducing the use of plastics, or finding more sustainable ways of using and disposing of it.

Tackling Plastic Pollution With Axiom for Plastic Free July

One of the core values of the Plastic Free Foundation is the belief that “small changes add up to a big difference” – essentially emphasising collective responsibility and mobilisation. While individuals certainly can improve their plastic consumption and reduce their carbon footprint, it is businesses that wield the power to drive meaningful change.

One way in which organisations can address their part in plastic pollution is by examining their supply chain and taking steps to make it more sustainable. However, before any change can be implemented, businesses must be able to measure their emissions using clear, tangible data. This highlights unsustainable operations and provides business owners with a benchmark from which they can measure their sustainability progress in the future.

This is where we come in.

Through our specialist sustainability software, we empower businesses to collate, calculate, track and report on a full range of important ESG metrics. From identifying areas in need of improvement through to integrating sustainable development principles into your business – AXIOM provides you with complete visibility and control over the data that matters.

To find out more about Axiom or to book your free demo, please click here.

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