The Carbon Footprint of Plastic – The world now produces more than 380 million tons of plastic every year, according to Our World in Data’s website. What’s worse, is that much of our plastic waste ends up in our oceans and landfills, further polluting the planet. What’s worse is the fact that as plastic breaks down, it doesn’t disappear into thin air, but instead breaks down into microplastics. Scientists are now detecting plastic in breastmilk, in food we eat and even in our rainwater.
In the journal Science, researchers reported a startling discovery: after collecting rainwater and air samples for just over a year (14 months to be exact), they calculated that over 1,000 metric tons of microplastic particles fall into 11 protected areas in the western US each year. It is an unfortunate fact that microplastics are blowing all over the world, landing in remote and pure habitats like the Arctic. This begs the question; how much plastic is REALLY falling from the sky? How is it affecting humanity’s carbon footprint on the planet?
The Carbon Footprint of Plastic
The carbon footprint of a product or an activity is a measure of its impact on the carbon balance. And carbon balance is the difference between CO2 uptake by ecosystems via photosynthesis and CO2 loss to the atmosphere by respiration. In essence, the production of manmade products causes greenhouse gas emissions, and these emissions constitute the carbon footprint of a product or activity.
Typical fossil plastics have a global warming potential of between 1.7 and 3.5 kg of CO2, depending on the type of plastic. This means that for every kilogram of fossil-based plastic produced, there is between 1.7 and 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide released.
What does this mean? According to Carroll Muffett, head of Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), “emissions from plastics production and incineration could account to 56 gigatons of carbon between now and 2050.”
The issue is that while plastic is hurting the planet’s ecosystems, alternatives such as paper and glass can actually cause more emissions than plastic. For example, let’s take paper bags versus plastic bags:
Plastic bags generate 39% less greenhouse gas emissions than uncomposted paper bags and 68% less greenhouse gas emissions than composted paper bags.
A paper bag weights twice that of a plastic bag. Not only do you have to produce twice the weight of the material, but transportation of said paper bags creates emissions, and then at the end of the paper bags’ life, you have twice the weight to dispose of.
Using paper bags generates five times more solid waste than using plastic bags.
Plastic grocery bags consume 71% less energy during production than paper bags.
According to an NPR report, plastic is still a necessity for humans. There are even organizations which claim getting rid of plastic will cause more emissions than keeping it around! As such, having plastic in our oceans, food and water supply is a reality and one that isn’t going to quickly go away. The fact is this: it’s already in our tap water. We are already consuming it, and it’s in our food supply.
With loads of contaminants, plastics and toxins in our oceans, waterways, and even in our tap water it’s no wonder so many people in SW Missouri and NW Arkansas are looking at filtration systems for their homes. If you live in the Ozarks and would like to see what contaminants are in your tap or well water, this is something we specialize in – water testing! Get yourself a complementary hassle-free quote on a water filtration system in your home, don’t hesitate to give us a call! (417) 881-4000. We will have one of our techs come out and provide you with a free quote!
About Aquasani Water Purification Systems & Filter Maintenance
Aquasani is an authorized dealer for Rainsoft, WaterLogic, & JavaSmart. Based in Springfield, Mo., and at Lake of the Ozarks / Osage Beach in Missouri, Aquasani services areas in the Ozarks including Osage Beach, Joplin, Camdenton, Aurora and even Jefferson City. In essence, we service Mid-Missouri, Southwest Missouri, and Northwest Arkansas, and have been servicing these areas since 2004. We provide home water softener systems, drinking water filtration systems, whole-house air purification systems, and problem-solving water filtration systems for homes and offices. We also service other water softeners like Culligan, Sterling, Hydroquad, Pro-Series, and Whirlpool to name a few!
Aside from our purification systems, we also sell all-natural cleaning products and household items which are environmentally friendly and low-cost.
We specialize in water filtration and purification for both commercial businesses and residential homes. If that isn’t enough, we provide free trials for our water cooler services. If you would like a free estimate, schedule an appointment with us by calling (417) 881-4000 or (573) 692-4009 if you are in the Lake of the Ozarks area.
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