Unsustainable effects of plastic
Plastic effects every part of the ecological and biological systems. It gets into the air, the land, and the oceans, and the production of plastic is one which has had an extremely detrimental effect. It involves extracting oils from the ground, with this process alone creating wastelands and destroys habitats.
In the Amazon rainforest, vast amounts of land has been destroyed for mining fields. This creates a lifeless space where plants and animals cease to exist. The ecosystems such as this are a lifeline for us as humans, the trees are a vast carbon sink that enable oxygen to be produced. With the loss of such habitats and wildlife, we risk both carbon emissions and global warming increasing.
Not only does the extraction of raw minerals produce a plastic effect on the world, but also the process in which it is produced and disposed of. When plastic is being produced, carbon emissions and toxic chemicals from factories are pumped into the air, creating thick clouds of smoke. This is bad for both our respiratory systems and our planet.
When plastic has had usage and is to be thrown away, it is cast back into the environment in a non-sustainable way. United Nations published a report estimating that 79% of plastic waste is thrown in landfills, dumps or the environment, while about 12% is incinerated and only 9% recycled.
Plastic toxins run off onto fields which grow crops and enter out oceans which are home to fish and other animals we consume. So in one way or another we are consuming more plastic than we realise. Additionally, since plastics only really started to be used in the 1950s in fashion, it is a relatively new concern with unknown long-term health effects.
Plastic within fashion
The 2000s saw an era of plastic. With the 'Mean Girls’ film and the rise of certain fashion trends, plastic use skyrocketed. This however, had detrimental effects on our environment, with the plastics breaking down and microfibres becoming engrained in every element of the ecosystem.
Fashion trends are constantly changing and so fast fashion is a way of creating new and upcoming designs at a cheaper price for consumers, ultimately generating mass profit and an every growing supply and demand. With more than 85% of textiles going to the dump each year, we see mass waste and a lack of sustainable fashion.
The need to slow down fashion
With only 10% being recycled we need to drastically decrease the use of unrecyclable materials. The rate at which fashion is made and thrown away is worrying. Slow fashion needs to start coming into play, with people buying less from the brands that fuel this mass money making industry. More needs to be done to create more sustainable fabrics so that recycling can become more prominent.
That’s why you, the consumer can do your bit to help, to help change this and slow this problem down before it’s too late. We need to all come together and do our bit to protect the world we live in. To become less materialistic and more minimalistic, to value what is truly important.