Plastic waste is a huge problem within nearly every society on earth today. One of the best ways to ensure that we are not continuing to destroy our planet with plastic waste, is to make a change in the companies that initially produce the plastic waste. Over 380 million tons of plastic are produced each year. However, there are a few companies who are working towards more sustainable alternatives.

Through my research, I discovered that the food and beverage company, Nestlé, pledged to make all of their plastic packaging 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025. Nestlé made this pledge in April of 2020, but there are visible changes being made within the company. They also set a goal to have zero environmental impact by 2030 and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

In September of 2020, Nestlé invested 30 million US dollars into becoming more sustainable in many areas. They increased the creation of food-grade recycled plastics, they created a refillable system for pet food in Chile, and they manufactured  a first-of-its-kind recyclable paper packaging for Maggi bouillon cubes in France.

In only a year since making the promise to create more sustainable packaging, 87% of Nestlé’s total packaging by weight and 66% of its total plastic packaging is recyclable or reusable. Nestlé decreased their plastic footprint almost immediately. By August of 2020, they reached plastic neutrality in the Philippines. This means that Nestlé collected and co-processed the equivalent amount of plastic as contained in the products sold and prevented the further flow of plastic into landfills and oceans. 

Many companies make promises about sustainability that they will probably never keep; However, Nestlé seems to be making true efforts towards sustainability. They have made over half of their packaging completely recyclable or reusable in less than a year. In addition, they have also set more goals for themselves as a company in order to accomplish more for people on the plain of sustainability.

Meier, Christoph. “Nestlé Intensifies Its Sustainable Packaging Transformation Journey.” Nestlé Global, 7 Sept. 2020, 

“What Are Businesses Doing to Turn off the Plastic Tap?” UNEP, UN Environment Programme,

Just Start

In order to live plastic free, most people would have to change nearly everything about the way they live their daily lives. How many people are truly willing to do this? I would hope that people have learned as much as I have about the earth and how important it is. How could I not desire to do better for myself and the place we call home? 

There are many things I would be willing to change in order to live a more plastic-free life. First of all, most of the plastic waste I create consists of water bottles and different types of plastic snack trash and straws. Only 12% of those types of plastic are fully recycled. Using less of these items still does not ensure that they will not end up in landfills or in the ocean. In order to ensure that I am not creating any more of these types of waste, I have to stop using them completely. 

Obviously, I can not stop drinking water and eating throughout the day. I can use alternative materials instead of plastic. To replace a plastic water bottle, I bought a reusable water bottle and just continually refill it. Instead of creating more and more plastic waste from snack packaging, I buy snacks that come in packaging that I can reuse or that comes in packaging that is completely biodegradable. I also bought metal straws to replace the plastic ones I used every day.

Making this change was not as difficult as some would think. In fact, I bought the reusable water bottle, the straws, and the reusable snack packaging all in the same day and began my journey of using less plastic. The only challenge I have faced so far is trying to find snacks that come in reusable or biodegradable packaging. I have found that the Aldi in my area is a great asset if you are trying to use less plastic packaging. A lot of the snacks come in cardboard packaging or cloth packaging that is reusable. 

The only plastic item I own that I do not think I could replace is my phone. Many of the parts that make up my phone are made out of plastic. I do not think that there are any phones that are not at least partially made of plastic. If there were, I would consider switching to that brand of phone. 

I will definitely stick to using more sustainable plastic options in my daily life. In addition, I will add more sustainable products and practices in my life. 

If I could give anyone advice on being more sustainable, it would be to just start. It is truly not that difficult to become more sustainable, you just have to begin making these changes. Once you start living more sustainably, it is not difficult to continue.

OUR Plastic Ocean

I watched a documentary on Netflix titled, “A Plastic Ocean.” It is a Netflix Original film directed by the Australian journalist Craig Leeson. In this documentary, Craig Lesson set out on a journey to to film proof of a solid mass of plastic waste in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; however, he and his partner, Tanya Streeter, realized that their footage was a lot less solid and a whole lot more micro.

A Plastic Ocean | Netflix

At the beginning of filming, Leeson and Streeter believed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to be a solid heap of waste. They soon discovered that it is mostly made up of microplastics. Microplastics are just small broken down pieces of plastic that may have been solid at one point. They can be much more dangerous than large plastic waste items because fish, whales, and other marine organisms often mistake them for food. In turn, dolphins, sharks, seals, and other marine predators digest prey that is full of extremely toxic contaminants.

In the filming of this documentary, clips of beautiful and vibrant marine ecosystems are coupled with contrast footage of heavily polluted cities and waterways. This sends viewers the message that our plastic waste is destroying our environment as well as the many environments of our fellow animals. “A Plastic Ocean” also reflects on the inequalities of society and how those inequalities affect pollution in developing countries.

A Plastic Ocean: a film review | - | LearnEnglish

Throughout the documentary, Leeson and Streeter travel to different Gyres across the Earth’s five oceans to film the devastating affects of plastic pollution. They are joined by many world experts on pollution in the gyres, including Dr. Bonnie Monteleone, who joined them in their expedition to the South Pacific Gyre. Along with the team, she collected numerous plastic samples from the South Pacific to quantify the growth of plastic marine debris compared to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Ocean conservation starts at home - Lumina News

Many of the people involved in this documentary are marine conservationists, marine biologists, or marine conservation filmmakers. Therefore, their message is undeniably biased toward protecting marine life and getting rid of plastic. Bias is often seen as having a negative impact when trying to convey a message, but in this instance I believe that their bias allows them to be much more knowledgable. They attempt to study their opinions and biases in a scientific manner instead of basing their message on ideas alone.

This film opened my eyes to the truth within plastic pollution and the immense impact it has had and is continuing to have on Earth. The quantity of plastic that floats on top of the ocean is nearly immeasurable and the effect it has is the same. As an inhabitant of earth, I hope that more people watch documentaries such as these and reflect on their own negative earthly impacts.


When I began my 24-hour plastic recording journey, I knew that my list would be rather long. I use plastic for everything, we all do, especially in college. Our parents send us home with leftovers in plastic containers, we use plastic plates and forks in our dorms, we eat our snacks from plastic bags. We are all guilty of using plastic in everyday life. However, the number of plastic products that I used and recorded during my study was astronomical.Spicoly Plastics - South Africa's Leading Plastic Products ...

Throughout my day, I recorded everything I touched or came in contact with that was made of plastic. Many times throughout the day I wrote down items that I had never even noticed were made of plastic. Things such as the refrigerator handle, the wheels on your chair, or the light switch are not items you automatically associate as plastics, but you use them daily. I found myself coming into contact with so many plastic products that I did not want to write them down anymore. I started to feel guilty in the realization of how much plastic I truly use. By the end of my 24- hour study, I had almost 100 different plastic products written on my paper!

I never could have imagined that I use that much plastic in one day. I felt extremely guilty about how much I have been contributing to the earth’s declining health. The next morning, I decided that I would be more conscious about the plastics that I use. I redid the 24-hour study to see how much I could improve my own habits in one day. Again, I recorded every plastic product that I touched; however, this time I only used plastic products that were essential to me. These products include items such as pencils, phones, chairs, etc. By the end of that 24-hour study, I had decreased my plastic use from almost 100 products to almost 15 products.

After the two study days, I decided that I would continue using less plastic and I would try to be conscious of how often I use it. I am now making it my personal goal to use less plastic and be a better human to the earth.