Everywhere we turn today, we are bombarded by amazing statistics. The information is out there and anyone can drop a scary statistic like the US consumes 200 billion plastic bottle each year” in order to make a point. All we really get form these statistic it that it’s a lot and even if we write it out 200,000,000,000 we see a lot of zeros but we still don’t really understand the dimensions and sheer scale of this number. As a society, we have grown accustomed to scary statistics to a point that they no longer have the desired impact that they once did. Artist Chris Jordan’s latest prints are a great tool to help us gain a more real understanding of these insane numbers. Chris helps us visualize what these statistics really look like and in term gives renewed impact, relevance and meaning to the numbers.
This stuff is huge business, according to a recent article in Treehugger bottled water using this type of container like the Dasani brand from Coca Cola has a markup of up 10,000% from the cost of production making it one of the most profitable commodities around. I can’t believe that I just referred to water as a commodity. Some of these bottles of water are transported from across the globe and require up to 7 bottles of clean water in the production of each bottle container.
Although they are designed to last for a very long time, almost all of these plastic containers have an extremely short life of use especially by the consumer. How long does it take to drink a 20 oz bottle of soda or water? After that primary use, these containers are denominated recyclable garbage worth about 5 cents a unit in most states.
There are some good examples of companies that are pro actively coming up with solutions that work within the flawed systems. One great example is a company called Terracycle who use all kinds and shapes of used soda bottles as the packaging for their organic plant fertilizer. They successfully up-cycle worm poop and plastic bottles and turn them into a great product with a strong and responsible brand statement.
Unfortunately today there aren’t enough companies like Terracycle and so we must strive to reform the system from the roots. According to Wendy Jedlicka a sustainable packaging design expert, in order to take appropriate steps in reforming the packaging dilemma, we have to understand systems thinking. Once you start thinking in terms of systems and all the life cycle variables that come into effect, you come to understand that the solutions are not only based on miraculous “green”