About 40% of plastic is used just once and then thrown away. We generate a lot of plastic packaging waste. Cooper’s Refillery designs refill stations for supermarkets to reduce plastic packaging waste.
Plastic is a lightweight material that has revolutionized the way we live. However, the problem emerges when we talk about single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are made to be used once, then thrown away. This generates an enormous amount of waste, which we struggle to manage. In 2014, it was estimated that the average European produced 31 kilograms of plastic packaging waste.
Only 9% of Plastic is Recycled
A common misconception is that recycling is a perfect fix to the growing plastic problem. While recycling is indeed an important tool, it can often be expensive and inefficient. Only around 9 percent of the global plastic waste is recycled, 12 percent is incinerated, and 79 percent is landfilled. With these low recycling rates, a lot of material and economic value is lost.
Currently, one of the major problems is that there is no economic incentive for manufacturers to reduce the use of plastic in their products. Manufacturers can use as much plastic packaging as they want and they can shift the responsibility of collecting and managing that waste onto their consumers and local governments.
To help combat this problem governments need to strengthen producer responsibility laws. These laws increase the financial responsibility of producers to help manage the plastic waste that they create. In addition, we need to find innovative solutions that allow us to reuse plastics rather focusing on managing the waste.
A Reuse System
Cooper’s Refillery is a start-up that develops refill stations for supermarkets that can be used to refill liquid soaps and detergents. By refilling a plastic bottle instead of throwing it away, there is a direct reduction in the amount of plastic waste that is generated.
Furthermore, customers can refill their essential products in the same place where they already do their grocery shopping. These refill stations are a convenient, affordable way to reuse plastic.