Honestly, it’s no longer funny.
At first, I thought I should sprinkle some stats about how much plastic we use on a daily basis, but later I figured that it doesn’t really matter. We all know the crux of the issue. We use too much plastic and especially way too much single use plastic. We all are aware of it. It’s a different story on how much we are actually doing to change this fact. Much of it is accepted as a way of modern living.
The recent culture of “online delivery” of everything from clothes to ice-creams is a significant contributor. (Source: this).
Who should take the responsibility? The businesses that want to optimize for the cost of packaging, speed of transaction, and customer convenience? Or the customer who wants everything perfect, fast and cheap?
A while ago, I ordered a book on amazon. Check out what I got.
That’s some major conflict of interest for me personally.
I used to order pasta from a particular online delivery joint because I really loved their pasta. Then as their business grew, I noticed a steady increase in the plastics they sent me. They would send in plastic forks and spoons along with the main order – one set each for every item ordered. Anyways, I still loved their pasta and continued ordering till one day I got triggered.
Now they were sending paper tissues, all individually packed in plastic! I decided to write to them..
“Hello! I love your pasta. But I would appreciate less plastic please.”
I did get a reply from them.
“Hello. We appreciate your suggestions. But most of our customers demand that we provide add-ons for better convenience and hygiene. When we decided to cut back on our plastic use, our top customers complained vehemently and hence we had to roll back the changes.
We appreciate your writing in and hope for your continued support”
Anyways, this is how I read it:
“We don’t care about what you say because you are too unimportant a customer for us.”
Good riddance. In hindsight, there was some hypocrisy on my part too: Expecting them to cut back on plastic add-ons when the main food itself was packaged in a plastic container. Finally, I decided the best course will be to not order such a thing at all. ( Honest admission – I still order food online. Sometimes. Yeah, when I am desperate. )
In an ideal world, we would be able to get everything – convenience, speed, service, environment. But there is no ideal world. In our current market set-up, “the cost to the planet” is not accounted for. That makes single use plastics “profitable”. The moment we were to add “this is the cost you have to pay for leaving this piece of pollution for the next 500 years on this planet” component to our “30 minutes delivery or free” model of business, single use plastic will cease to be “viable”.
But that’s not happening anytime soon. All we can do till then is “Vote with our money”. Make your shopping preferences clear to the businesses you buy from. If some customers can demand “convenience”, I can demand “sustainability”. Hopefully, there will be some businesses that will be more considerate and listen to me.
Here’s a good compilation by NatGeo on plastic pollution if you want to learn more on this issue.
Thank you for reading! Please do leave your thoughts and comments.