We know what a lot of you Pandas are like. You care about Mother Earth and its delicious bamboo groves, lush forests, and comfy nooks and crannies where you can nap. So you recycle. You also cycle to work instead of driving your Pandamobile. And you buy products that are more eco-friendly and use less plastic. Because every little step really does matter.
But let’s face it, if you’re like us, sometimes when you walk into a grocery store you might lose hope when you spot just how much unnecessary packaging is used to pack some food products. And by unnecessary packaging, we mean U n N e C e S s A r Y to the point that you feel all of your environmentally friendly actions suddenly mean very little when faced with systemic issues on an industrial scale.
We wanted to show you just how plastically insane things can get, so our bamboo-loving Bored Panda team hiked all through the internet wilds to bring you the most egregious examples of wasteful food packaging. Have a scroll down below, upvote the pics that made you want to throw your recycling bin at somebody, and let us know how you feel about all of this plastic waste in the comments.
Setting aside the practical long-term economic and ecological worries that we have for our own survival, we have to realize that our attitudes toward our environment, plastic pollution, and consumption reflect who we are inside.
Not to sound too cheesy (don’t worry, it’s vegan), but the fight for a clean and healthy planet is also a fight for our very souls. We can either live wastefully, destroying everything around us for short-term pleasure and profit or we can choose to live with wisdom, respecting our role as a part of nature. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean living as ascetically as a monk would, but it doesn’t hurt to have a more minimalist outlook to counter the throwaway society that we live in.
Single-use plastics currently account for more than a third of all plastics produced each year. What’s more, 98 percent of single-use plastics are manufactured from fossil fuels. Tackling this issue, then, is a vital part of protecting our environment and our future. The BBC reports that an analysis of the business network behind plastic production found that a mere 20 companies are the source of more than half of all the single-use plastic items that are thrown away all over the world.
“Plastic bottles, food packages, and bags are among billions of items that are used once and then thrown away, often ending up in the oceans,” the BBC writes about the impact these companies, the largest producer of single-use plastic of which is ExxonMobil, have on the world.
According to the research, conducted among others by the London School of Economics, part of the increase in single-use plastic waste is due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with protective and medical equipment having to be discarded for health and safety reasons.
The United Kingdom is in fourth place in its plastic consumption, with each citizen generating over 40 kilograms of single-use plastic waste per year. Australia is in first place, meanwhile, the United States stands in second place.
Essentially, what the report showed is that the future of the plastic waste crisis lies in the hands of a handful of companies. Therefore change that affects our environment on a global scale ought to start from there.
“It’s an extraordinary point of leverage for regulators, for finance institutions, to influence them in order that rather than producing from fossil fuels, they produce plastic that’s recycled,” said Dominic Charles, the Minderoo Foundation’s director of finance and transparency. The Minderoo Foundation published the research findings.
“We need to go after the tap, to turn off the tap of fossil fuel plastics and we need to create plastics from recycled material,” Charles from the Minderoo Foundation said.
In short, there’s a need to put a stop to the production of single-use plastics from non-recyclable materials, in order to counteract the report’s grim prognosis: within the next 5 years, plastic production is set to expand by a whopping 30 percent.