Why are we still using plastic?

Hi Elphas!Recently, I've been thinking a lot about garbage (sexy, I know). I really wanted to understand "Why are we still using plastic? What is the challenge in creating an alternative?"Some of what I learned: - Much of the world's plastic is not properly collected and disposed of or recycled. Plastic moves from land to water, and then once it's in our water it can move all around the world. - Some of the fancy new systems being built to collect ocean trash are A) disrupting the wildlife and ecosystems they're near and B) not collecting the microplastics that are causing a lot of harm People aren’t betting on biodegradables being our holy grail. Apparently they usually don't end up in appropriate commercial facilities and they tend to encourage a "use and throw away" culture. "In 2015 the United Nations Environment Programme wrote off biodegradables as an unrealistic solution that will neither reduce the amount of plastic flowing into the oceans nor prevent potential chemical or physical harm to marine life. It concluded that the label “biodegradable” may actually encourage littering.”The solutions that people do talk about being successful essentially boil down to collecting plastic waste so it doesn’t enter the water in the first place and also just reducing our personal overall use of it. I’m curious whether others have expertise in this area they could share and tell me if I have an accurate overview right now or whether I am missing key components. Also just curious what other’s thoughts are and whether they’ve heard of any interesting ideas or innovation happening in this space. I’ve heard of Polymateria and the New Materials Institute at the University of Georgia working on this issue but I’m sure there are many others I haven’t come across yet.
This is something I think a lot about too.You're right, only 9% of plastics is recycled from what I've read (these stats are absolutely true for Canada & the UK). The system is really broken. I live in Toronto, and what types of plastics can be recycled in our municipality might not be able to be recycled in a nearby municipality and vice versa. However, a yoghurt container will have "recyclable" written on it, or have the symbol, even though it may not be recyclable in a certain place.A few years ago in Toronto it was announced we could recycle plastic bags. Exciting. However, this is only because we were selling this waste to China and other countries. Now, they don't want our garbage. But the damage is done - people think they can use as many plastic bags as they want and they are truly recycled into something else. Not true. We live in a capitalist society and many recycling companies are out to make a profit. Many have thin profit margins. Recycling shouldn't be for profit but like everything else, it is. The system is broken.Reduction is the way forward. I am encouraged by the number was zero waste grocery stores popping up. The bulk food store chain allows people to bring their own containers. Reego is a new initiative to reduce single use coffee cups.I imagine plastic is still prevalent as it's the cheapest option for many companies to package their products, sadly. One bit of good news last year is that sales of yoghurt pots in the UK had gone down, and they think it's because more people are making their own. Consumers can dictate the market but I really wish governments had more aggressive policies around single use plastic.
Same! But I hadn't realized zero waste grocery stores were still a trend. I heard about them a couple of years ago but haven't heard of any opening near me, although I'd love to try going to one. At the co-op that I'm a member of and shop at, I very rarely see people using the plastic bags provided for produce - they've just started putting it directly in their cart or bringing their own mesh bags. It's a small thing but it's nice to know some people are considering things like this when they shop.