To a company, trends are the ticket to gaining more sales as it informs companies of what consumers want at that current time. Those who set the trends, trendsetters or as social media calls them influencers, have had environmentally friendly in mind. In the current years more vegan food has become available, non-cruelty products are on shelfs and day to day supplies have been made from eco-friendly materials. The words bio-degradable and vegan appeals to consumers who are looking to better the environment and have a healthier and more natural lifestyle. So far, eco-friendly has been imbedded into social culture as social applications like Tik Tok have had a type of “persona” known as a VSCO girl whose personality trait includes being overly concerned about turtles and being against plastic straws resorting to metal ones instead. Similar to how companies have assimilated to social media to connect to consumers, companies should also partake in environmental trends in order to connect to consumers.
The sudden interest in recent years for environmentally friendly products comes from the damage that non-biodegradable products and packaging have caused. As previously mentioned, plastic straws have been replaced by metal straws or bamboo straws. What brought on this change was the news reports and headlines that announced the rising death of marine animals. The images of plastic straws, wrappers, and bags inside of the turtles, birds, and fish during autopsies shook viewers. Those that have empathy find the images hard to look at as items that are in our everyday home are a danger to other species. Due to this there has been a rise in making products and packaging bio-degradable and environmentally friendly. Companies, in order to appeal to the general public have started to trade in their plastic for better alternatives. Examples of this can be seen in the Saltwater Brewery who made their previously plastic six pack rings edible to marine life.
However, marine animal health is not the only one getting damaged by plastics. Humans can also be harmed by plastic through the hazardous chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Plastic is in everyday life and used by the masses in homes and other facilities. Therefore, companies have begun to give discounts for the use of reusable bags. However, plastic is still very much in the environment as the very fish that we eat can contain micro plastic that still carries the toxins from normal plastic. These plastics can allegedly encourage carcinogens and suppresses immune systems as well as introducing toxins such as lead and mercury. This is another reason as to why people are picking up the environmentally friendly trend. This is also better for companies as the workers that work with plastic will be less ill and have a better work environment.
Plastic is not the only material available nor is it the best. Plastic is a non-renewable resource. This means that it is beneficial for companies that are using plastic to switch over to a more suitable material such as wood or bamboo as they can be regrown and recycled. Another reason as to why bio-degradable materials are a better alternative to plastic is since even if there are ways to getting rid of plastic they come with flaws. Methods that have been used/suggested like burning plastic and the new plastic eating amoeba are not entirely effective. Burning plastic can be dangerous and will only succeed in releasing harmful toxins in the air. The plastic eating amoebas while effective cannot compete with the amount of plastic being produced as plastic eating amoebas can only partially eat plastic.
Essay by: Denise Lopez Figueroa
Arizona State University