Since 1950, more than nine billion tons of plastic have been produced in the world. In other words, more than one ton of plastic products for each person living today on planet Earth! Plastic is everywhere. It wraps our food and the things we buy, it’s in our clothes and in our buildings, and it’s even replaced some of the metal in our cars. Plastic is also found in undesirable places: it’s in our drinking water, in the air we breathe, in the soil wherein we grow our vegetables, and… it’s in our bodies.
The current Coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately driven an increased use of single-use plastic causing a setback in practice and policy. Masks and gloves litter the parking lots of shopping centers and are washing up on beaches. Hotels that have reopened in Israel are using disposable plates and silverware in their dining rooms and are serving food in plastic containers, not to mention plastic take-away containers from restaurants. Municipalities that, a year ago, joined a call from parents to reduce plastic in kindergartens and daycare centers, are backtracking and freezing efforts to transfer to multi-use dishes. All this, in spite of research of the Israeli Ministry of Health and other international institutions, that have determined that single-use plastic is not safer against the Coronavirus and have recommended the use of regular multi-use dishes and utensils.
In 2019, The Heinrich Boell Stiftung together with the Break Free from Plastic Alliance, launched the Plastic Atlas in English – a comprehensive guidebook of facts and figures about the world of synthetic polymers. HBS Israel saw a need to create a booklet in Hebrew, as no such guidebook on the subject existed for the Israeli public. We built a collaboration with the Natural Step Israel and with the newly formed Israeli Plastic Pollution Prevention Coalition, and are pleased to launch the Hebrew booklet, World of Plastic, here. What’s the connection between the oil industry, climate change and plastic? How does plastic impact women’s health? Why can’t recycling solve the problem with plastic? The booklet provides answers to these questions and more, and makes practical suggestions as to what each of us can do to reduce our plastic use, along with policy recommendations for government and industry. An Arabic version of the booklet will be available soon!