True-Cost Plastic (PT. 3)
How much plastic is coming out of the industrial bunghole annually?
Economists, spin up a rough number. Say it’s a trillion tons. Then make your best guess at the environmental price we pay for our clogged garbage dumps, polluted oceans and the shitspray of plastic microbeads through the food chain. Say it’s $500 per ton. Every manufacturer, corporation and retailer that uses plastic in their business will be required to account for that.
Maybe it’s a surcharge of a quarter on every bottle of Coke. If Coca Cola can’t take a hit like that on their margin, they’ll have to change their business model. Likewise, the automobile industry will have to redesign their cars. Food producers will have to adapt.
The cost of living will rise, and that’ll hurt. But plastic packaging will gradually disappear from our lives. We’ll buy our milk in glass bottles and bring them in for recycling like we used to. We’ll wash our plates, knives and forks and use them year after year, some for a lifetime.
The garbage gyres in the oceans will shrink and finally disappear. Blight will vanish from beaches and ravines. Microplastics will stop plugging the tissues of every mammal, including us.
And the horror of bringing our children up in a world awash in plastic will be over.