Environmental Sustainability: How Much is Being Done?

So I was trying to reduce the clutter and check for items that I could re-purpose and reuse in my house before I stumbled on a couple of used toothpaste tubes. What I did might sound “razz” but I literally cut open the tubes and the contents would still take me through three brushes. So I thought to myself, “How much of this has been wasted along with tubes I have used over the years?” this is just one aspect. I suppose that you are either interested in eco-friendliness and all that relates to it or you just interested in sustainability, hence your reason for reading this. Have you ever thought about the destination of your old toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, topical cream tubes, detergent wrappers, single serve milk sachets, plastic-lined paper packaging and so on? I took some time to research online and sadly I found out that most of the materials used for the aforementioned items are not recyclable. This means that virtually all toothpaste tubes, noodles packets, detergent wrappers end up in the landfills. These products are made by companies that claim to have sustainability reports filed annually. How sustainable is sustainability itself?

A lot of awareness has been going on about us embracing sustainable lifestyles but how easy has it been made available to us? The truth, I have discovered so far is that environmental sustainability and business cannot go hand in hand (except in principle of course). With the level of damage already caused, environmental sustainability would come at a financial which most stakeholders are not willing to bear. Like some people would say its all about the money. Most packaging materials are not recyclable. Those that offer eco-friendly packaging do so at relatively high costs – which might not be sustainable economically. In a world with a rather large percentage of people living in poverty, a regular would consider price before eco-friendliness which is what major players in the manufacturing sector also do. Right now all sustainable alternatives to the norm we are used to come expensive – economically. We are not used to considering environmental impacts. How do you explain to a random market woman to choose a good product with eco-friendly packaging but pricey over an equally good product with an non-recyclable package but cheaper. With the current economic downturn, the Nigerian in most people would choose the cheaper item.

So what’s the essence of all I have been saying? First we need to aggressively educate ourselves about the true meaning of sustainability as it a word we use when trying to describe the tendency of something to last over a period of time. Our predecessors have made the worst of choices as environmental sustainability started gaining popularity less than 30 decades ago. Secondly, the earth cannot be returned to its pristine conditions.We can only adapt to the current situations and mitigate future occurrences. Lastly, the concept of circular economy has to be looked into extensively and harnessed because consumers would only make use of whatever is made available to them. Product developers and manufacturers should go back to the drawing to include eco-friendly designs from the scratch. Already manufactured products should be fully utilised by reusing, repurposing and recycling.

Cheers to greener earth!

Yours Sustainably,

One Greenie Mom.

 

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