In 2018, microplastics were detected in the daily salt that we eat. Plastic that was first invented 113 years ago is still not rotten and is being crushed into small pieces, eventually ending up on our dining tables. Simply put, we eat plastic that is not separated properly. Even though people know this fact, they may be pretending to not know it for the sake of mental comfort. Not all people are ignoring these facts, however. There are many people and organizations working hard to reduce waste for a cleaner world.
In Korea, actor Ryu Jun-yeol took the first step in the Zero Waste Challenge. The Zero Waste Challenge refers to a campaign to reduce waste emissions to protect the environment. This is done in a way that individuals share examples of reducing waste generation in their daily lives and ways to reduce their own waste.
Changes have also begun in Korea. In June 2020, Lotte Mart declared that they would reduce the use of disposable plastics by 50 percent by 2025. Recently in September, E-Mart also installed an ‘Eco-refill Station’ in some chain stores. That helps pack things such as household goods, detergents, and shampoo.
Greenpeace, an international environmental group, launched a zero waste challenge demanding that stores connect manufacturers and consumers to find another way to sell or transport products without using plastics. Greenpeace has called on large markets around the world to reduce plastic packaging. As a result, many markets around the world provide ‘Refill Stations’ that help reduce waste by using reusable containers. People can take away detergents and shampoo as much as they want in reusable containers by using a refill station.
There are some regulations in the world put in place to help solve the environmental problem caused by plastics. In 2016, San Francisco banned the sale of not only disposable containers but also containers made of polystyrene. It also bans bottled water at airports and public institutions. In Morocco, a country that once used plastic bags second to the U.S., implemented regulations in 2016 banning plastic use.
Cleaning up wastes requires an effort by everyone, including you. After shopping once or twice a month, you can see more garbage piles, and probably notice there are items that you do not need. If we can be more aware of how we contribute to the production of waste, perhaps we can begin to take actions that reduce waste. Hopefully, together we can help create a cleaner and more sustainable environment.