These days, it’s more important than ever that we do what we can to become more environmentally-conscious. The warnings from scientists are clear: take better care of the planet, or we could begin to see irreversible damage happening within the near future.
With that in mind, there’s plenty that can be done to improve the way that we take care of the earth – not just on a larger scale, but within our own lives, too. What we need, however, is to see more innovations in the ways that we can all go green.
Here are just three of the reasons why funding green innovations has never been a better or more important idea.
Each and every year, we send millions of tonnes of waste to landfill and much of it will take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down. Did you know that a single plastic toothbrush can take up to 1000 years to decompose? Given that we are advised to change our toothbrush at least four times a year and put that on a global scale, there are millions of toothbrushes sent to landfill each month and they are unlikely to even begin breaking down within our lifetime.
Toothbrushes are, of course, just one household item that is often made using unsustainable and non-recyclable materials. Every day, we use facial wipes, cotton buds, plastic bottles, plastic bags, disposable razors, plastic straws… the impact that these items have on the environment is devastating.
When it comes down to it, we must fund green innovations so that we can begin to produce more of these everyday household items from eco-friendly materials. Only then will we begin to see a positive change to the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill sites – and that positive change will make an astronomical difference to our footprint on the planet.
We must spend more money funding the research and innovations needed in product manufacturing to produce a wider variety of common everyday items from environmentally-friendly materials in order to protect the planet.
The cold truth is that we are harvesting and using unsustainable materials at a rate that we simply can no longer keep up with. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, around 7 million hectares of forest are being destroyed each year, through human-led destruction or natural deforestation due to global warming. Given that a single tree can take upwards of 50 years to grow, the replanting of trees by corporations who wish to look a little more environmentally responsible will not do enough to even start to repair this damage within our lifetimes.
We’re also quickly running out of finite resources at an alarming speed, with crude oil reserves disappearing at a rate of 4 billion tonnes a year - it’s been worryingly estimated that we may even run out of all known oil deposits in a little over fifty years. Non-renewable energy is no longer a reliable energy source and we must begin to work towards finding a viable replacement in anticipation of the day that fossil fuels inevitably disappear forever.
Funding the innovations regarding sustainable and renewable energy is one of the most important things that we can do now in order to safeguard our future. We must – as many governments are pledging to do – end our reliance on fossil fuels and other unsustainable resources within the near future. This is why it’s so incredibly important that research into sustainable and renewable sources, and the development of viable alternatives to non-renewable energy, must receive more funding.
We can all agree that we have a long, long way to go in reducing our negative impact on the environment – but what we already have done is working.
In the five years since the United Kingdom introduced the 5p plastic carrier bag charge, it’s estimated that the nation has taken over nine billion plastic bags out of circulation. Thanks to this change, there are less plastic bags being produced and, therefore, disposed of. It’s a change that the UK government looks to replicate in many other areas, having encouraged charges on plastic coffee cups and the removal of plastic straws in pubs, bars and restaurants.
We’ve also seen a huge surge in the sale of bamboo products since there was major innovations made in the production of bamboo products across the last few years. It’s estimated that the value of the bamboo toothbrush market in the US was $23.5 million in 2019 – and it’s expected to continue to rise by a factor of 9.5% before the turn of the next decade. Given that bamboo toothbrushes are just one element of the growing bamboo market - with bamboo lunchboxes, straws and alternatives to plastic single-use items also growing in popularity - it’s clear that we’re all open to becoming more sustainable if the alternatives are there.
What we now must work on is developing and growing those alternatives. Can we produce more items from bamboo, a material which is sustainable, bio-degradable and quick-growing? Can we begin to make bamboo alternatives more prominent than their plastic counterparts?
We must focus on the continued growth and development of alternatives to plastic and non-renewable items. It’s clear to see that the moves we’ve seen towards more sustainable materials are working, but we must double-down on these developments and further fund the innovations in eco-friendly product manufacturing if we want to make a positive and lasting impact on the environment as a whole.