As concern about climate change became a household conversation topic, marketing strategists from all industries have jumped at the opportunity to throw words like “eco-friendly” into their advertisements. However EcoStiks is committed to more than just using the words- our company was founded with the mission of addressing the single-use plastic problem, and addressing this problem remains a central component of everything we do.
The environmentally friendly stickers used to make EcoStiks come from Repreve, a material made from upcycled plastic water bottles. We donate 1% of our profits to environmental nonprofits. And we are constantly working to make every part of our sticker manufacturing process more sustainable, including actively researching more sustainable methods of producing adhesive. We want to go beyond just spreading awareness about the single-use plastic problem- we want to provide customers with an alternative.
But now that we’ve brought it up why are single-use plastics such a problem? The main issue is that plastic does not biodegrade the way food waste, cardboard, or many other materials do. Instead, plastic breaks down into micro-particles called microplastics that accumulate in the natural environment and become inadvertently consumed by animals and humans. Ingestion of microplastics by marine animals has been shown to cause harm and we are only beginning to understand the effect microplastic consumption has on humans.
This all sounds very scary but it’s important not to lose hope. A central issue is that the recycling system as we know it is not working effectively. The majority of plastic products are not actually recycled- many of them are burned or tossed into landfills. As people who don’t want the earth to be overrun by microplastics in our lifetime, that means a couple of things for us. First, buying upcycled products is good because it means we are ensuring that discarded plastic material is getting recycled and brought back into the market. Second, it’s important to view recycling plastic as a last resort option and try to reduce our consumption of plastic in the first place, when possible. Third, let’s work on educating ourselves and others with compassion about how to protect our environment and each other.