The World Plastic Problem
We have a worldwide problem of the materials causing environmental pollutions. Plastic is the biggest one of those materials. Today, it’s estimated that “one garbage truck of plastics is thrown away into the ocean every minute” (World Economic Forum).
The plastics flowing in the ocean will never be biodegraded and will pile up or continue flowing…some of them get eaten by ocean creatures and eventually by humans. For example, straws we use only for a few minutes end up flowing in the ocean for the next hundreds of years if they are thrown into the ocean. Seattle in the US has started to face this problem earlier than anywhere else and started movements such as “Strawless In Seattle” or abolitions of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable dishes and utensils.
Because more and more countries and large companies have started to limit the use of plastics, more and more people are aware of the influences of plastics. For example, Starbucks has started to use the biodegradable plastic lids instead of plastic straws, and this action would impact not only the amount of plastic waste around the world directly but also on building the awareness. There are other movements around the world too, such as inventing methods to collect plastics in the ocean effectively or inventing alternative materials of plastics.
Substitute Products for Plastics
One of the possible alternative materials for plastics is paper. Many countries including Japan are interested in using paper straws. Tokyo Government Office has decided to use paper straws instead of plastic ones at cafés inside the government office for a trial (Tokyo Government Office).
Some companies are inventing biodegradable plastics. “Biodegradable” means; decays naturally without any special scientific treatment and without harming the environment. Plastics are non-biodegradable, so there are people who are making substitute products using biodegradable materials so that the products can be destroyed completely in an eco-friendly way. Biodegradable products use less burning energy and have less damages to living things compared to plastics, and can be composted.
However, the system to decay the biodegradable products are not established yet. “If you simply throw a biodegradable plastic straw into your garden, it may not be decayed properly. Most of the biodegradable products require certain conditions of the temperature or microorganisms. If you throw the straw into the ocean, it may continue flowing for hundreds of years just like a plastic one” (プラスチックの海).
What Do We Create Then?
We thought about what we can do in the midst of these movements for eco-friendlier society. What we are thinking right now is to create products that are as natural as possible. For example, a German company called Leaf Republic invented a natural plate named “leaf plate”.
This product is made from papers made of waterproof leaves, and each layer is sewn with the fibers of Palm leaves. No chemicals, artificial coloring, or oils are used, so it can be composted. We, kusukusu Inc., are trying to make products made from natural materials like bamboos, which can be easily biodegraded.
What Creating Means to Us
Some of the products that we, humans, have made over the years are non-recyclable or non-biodegradable. Those products have continued to pile up and became inevitable problem for us to face. However, we can’t make them disappear like a magic, and actually, some of the things made our lives better in some ways. Kusukusu Inc. has been thinking how we can reuse them instead of leaving them as a pile of garbage. As for the products we will make from now on, eco-friendliness and sustainability are what we value the most.
SDGs : 12. RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION / 14. LIFE BELOW WATER / 15. LIFE ON LAND