Plastic Offset: A New Way to Fight Plastic Pollution?

Every year the average US consumer throws away 109kg of plastic, while their global counterparts may be a bit more responsible - on an average we’re looking at enough plastic to circle the world 40 times.
Andrew Martin, Pixabay

What’s even worse is that only 9% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled. The rest ends up being burnt, tossed in landfills or sadly polluting our oceans – contributing to up to 80% of all ocean waste.

While the world is on the lookout for alternatives to plastic, the reality is that many of us are still dependent on plastic, with sustainable or recycled alternatives often being expensive and inaccessible. In such a context, plastic offsetting has entered as a potential solution for the plastic pollution problem.

A concept that’s been used by organisations to neutralise their negative environmental impact – offsetting has been a new and innovative method for brands to integrate new found consumer values with progressive circular economy initiatives.

This is where Plastics for Change comes in. Being the world’s first fair trade supply chain for recycled ocean bound plastic, the social enterprise has been helping brands – like The Body Shop – become more sustainable. Now, they’re looking at helping individuals who want to make a real difference in the future of the planet through initiatives like plastic offsetting.

When an individual pays an organization – that is fighting plastic pollution – to intercept a certain amount of plastic waste from the environment on their behalf, they are offsetting or rather making up for the negative impact of their personal plastic consumption.

What sets the Plastics for Change offsetting program apart is their dual focus on both the environmental and humanitarian impact of plastic pollution. The humanitarian issue being the plight of informal waste collectors who, despite being the backbone of our waste management systems, are often exploited and marginalised. By offsetting your plastic with the organisation – you can be sure that your offset amount will go directly towards the informal waste collectors that collect the plastic, with a proportion also going towards social development initiatives in waste collector communities.

The online portal created by Plastics for Change on their website is seamless. Multiple weight wise options are available to those who’d like to offset their plastic consumption, with the basic conversion rate being 1kg of plastic removed for every $0.60 contributed.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it’s reinforced the need for all of us to stand together. Today, plastic offsetting may have provided a new way to fight the very real plastic pollution crisis – but this fight cannot be won alone.

Similar to the recent wave of online support being levied for affected individuals and communities, joining hands and spreading the word on online movements to salvage our oceans like “Offset for Change” is the need of the hour. Let’s forego the traditional gifts we send our family and friends on special occasions and give an offset instead. A gift that instead reinforces a feeling of responsibility and hope. A way to be an agent of change for the future.


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