The Plastic Problem
The invention of plastic was revolutionary. With it, we made life-saving medical devices, radios, electricity, skyscrapers, cars, planes, and many other innovations we take for granted today. With the good, however, comes the bad.
To start, plastic is made from coal, natural gas, and crude oil…all of which are unsustainable. On top of that, the majority of plastic on the market is not biodegradable. While paper and food decompose easily, plastic takes at least 400 years to break down.
Discarded plastic creates countless problems for us and our environment. It litters our national parks, clogs our city drains, and forms massive garbage patches in our oceans. Floating plastic waste acts as vehicles for invasive species, disrupting habitats and threatening biodiversity. When animals ingest plastic, it clogs their stomach while chemicals in the plastic poison them.
Plastic is found in the guts of more than 90% of the world’s sea birds and in the stomachs of over 50% of the world’s sea turtles.
Plastic also leaches toxins into the food or drink they hold, which then end up inside our bodies. Phthalates, a form of plastic found in vinyl flooring, wall coverings, food packaging, and medical devices, can be found in eight out of every ten babies, as well as nearly all adults. BPA, used to make plastic bottles and the linings of food and beverage cans, can also be detected in most people.
In March 2022, scientists found microplastic pollution in the blood of almost 80% of the people sampled.
Once absorbed by our bodies, plastic compounds have been found to alter hormones and have other negative health effects, such as reproduction abnormalities, increased rate of heart disease and diabetes, and damage to developing brains.
Even with all that we know about plastic, production shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, it is expected to double by 2050, with single-use plastic accounting for 40% of the plastic produced every year.
Current production capacity for biodegradable plastic is less than 0.2% of petrochemical-based plastic.
In short, we’re rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products, and yet we have no way to deal with them once discarded. Clearly our reliance on and use of plastic is not sustainable.
The Metiseko Solution
At Metiseko, we consciously make an effort to limit our use of plastic. Since our first collection in 2011, our shopping bags, labels, flyers, and other marketing support materials have been made using locally-produced recycled paper.
That said, there was still a large part of our business that relied on plastic. It is standard practice for the ready-to-wear industry to package garments in plastic. On top of that, the high level of humidity in Vietnam required us to condition our clothes in poly bags. We searched high and low for a plastic-free solution, but found that the locally-sourced bags did not resist the humidity and dissolved within days. Plus, suppliers required absurdly high minimum orders.
And so, we kept obsessively searching for our Holy Grail. After 5 years of relentless research and testing, we are happy to announce that we’ve finally found the perfect plastic-free bag for garment conditioning. Our new partner specializes in eco-friendly packaging for the fashion industry and offers home compost-certified, PLA-based, 0% plastic bags that are 100% compostable, 100% biodegradable, and 100% made in Vietnam.
We can now say, without a doubt, that Metiseko is part of the plastic solution.