It's time to think about our home Terra! The oceans are a sea of floating and poisonous plastic. Mostly they are disposable Pet plastic bottles. We need to change habits. In Italy, part of the large retailers decided to eliminate them. But consumer collaboration is also needed. Here's what and how to do it
In 3019 the young Qwerty is walking along the beach. The soft consistency of sand on bare feet is a fresh and pleasant sensation. He stops to look at the sun which, as fierce as a beast that re-enters the den after a day of hunting, finally sets over the horizontal line of the sea. Thoughtful, Qwerty takes a few more steps, trying to concentrate on the smell of the breeze that accompanies the small waves against the shoreline. A sudden twinge, however, goes up his left leg and brings him back to reality. He sits on the ground and checks the sole of his foot. Fortunately, no injuries. He looks around. Does not understand. And yet that is a safe, reclaimed beach … It is then that he sees that thing rising from the sand. He gets on all fours and starts digging. A few moments later he finds himself in his hands a cylindrical, blue object of an unknown material. Something, however, that he heard about in the lessons of the History of Ancient Earth by Professor Poiu. Wait … how is it that he called it …? Qwerty thinks about it a bit. Ah yes, now remember: plastic bottle. "It must be very old indeed," he says to himself, turning that strange thing between his hands. He sees that there is something inside it, but he does not know how to open that object without damaging it. After several attempts he manages to turn the cap. Insert your fingers and take out a piece of paper: «March 13, 2037. Rifugio Adriatico 124 / b. Bertoli family. When this madness is over, if there is still something and someone, come and get it. Good luck and a hug from Carlo and Giovanna and from our children Gaia and Luca .
If you think that starting a science fiction story with the discovery of a plastic bottle manufactured in the previous millennium is unlikely, you are wrong. Pet plastic bottles, the ones normally used for our water, have an estimated average life of about 1000 years. They are not biodegradable and only a small part of them is collected and sent for recycling. If we add that the production of this material itself requires the use of large quantities of water and oil, it soon becomes clear that we are following a path that is no longer sustainable. Of course, bottles are often reused by filling them with tap water from home, which is good in Italy; or going to pick it up in the "water houses", the public providers that have appeared in our cities for some years now. But recycling plastic bottles is not hygienic, as demonstrated by a 2016 research. It is better to use steel, glass or newer bioplastic water bottles derived from sugar processing.
In short, the Pet plastic bottles would (indeed: are) disposable and therefore this is certainly not the correct way to circumvent or curb pollution. And so, today, we find ourselves with the oceans invaded by over 150 million tons of plastic, mostly made up of single-use Pet bottles. And Italy is among the first consumers of bottled water in the world: with 12.5 billion liters of water bottled each year in our country 330,000 tons of Pet are produced in plastic containers, equivalent to a use of 650,000 tons of oil and 6 billion liters of water.
Change the habits of producers, distributors and consumers
To find solutions it is necessary to influence consumers' habits, both upstream, producers and distributors, and downstream. Something is moving in this direction. As already mentioned, many municipalities have made public and free water dispensers available to citizens, but only glass, steel or bioplastic containers must be used. So it will be a good habit for the consumer, right away, to go to the "water houses"; or drink tap water at home, perhaps applying simple filters to the point of use (many can be found on the market) to make it even better and safer.
But even large retailers are moving in this direction, making distributors available to consumers in their stores. It is the path followed by NaturaSì with the project Plastic Free, the initiative promoted together with Legambiente and sponsored by Ministry of the Environment, to reduce the consumption of Pet plastic bottles.
The goals of Plastic Free
The NaturaSì chain of organic stores, with 260 stores throughout Italy, is not new to initiatives to protect the environment. But this time we are faced with something that could be called "revolutionary". In fact, it is the first large-scale retail company to take concrete action on this front. Already 50 NaturaSì stores have been active with the “plastic-free water sector” active. But the aim is to reach 100 stores by the end of the year. It is estimated that this initiative will lead to savings of almost 1 million and 300 thousand Pet bottles in the environment and a decrease of over 190 tons of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere. Of course, this is only a small step, we could say a drop of plastic less in the great ocean of plastic, but the promoters hope and hope to act as a forerunner and encourage other distributors to activate similar projects and raise consumer awareness. In short, before the competition comes the good of the planet Earth, that is: the good of all.
How does it work
To get out of a world of plastic, NaturaSì has studied some dispensers, placed in its sales points, which use water from the public water network, further purified thanks to the combined action of various filters. Will be made available to customers 1 liter glass bottles that can be purchased in the store, or bring from home (clean and suitable for food use). For lovers of bubbles, there are dispensers equipped with C02 bottles to get sparkling water. Not only that: are you thirsty and want to drink fresh water immediately? No problem, the dispensers are also equipped with refrigeration to distribute cold water. To guarantee the safety and tranquility of the consumer, moreover, periodic analyzes of water potability are provided, coordinated by the company's Quality Office.
In short, we keep the earth clean as we keep our house clean. Because the Earth it's our home. And for now, looking into infinite space, an Earth 2 we haven't found yet!
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