The growing problem of plastic pollution is gaining more and more attention in the media, and for good reason. For example, National Geographic posed this singular question with their June 2018 magazine issue—Planet or Plastic? NatGeo has been covering plastic pollution for decades. After all, they are on the front lines with an army of photographers and reporters that see first-hand what our natural resources are battling. A line has been drawn in the sand (quite literally) with the garbage of our conveniences.
While NatGeo asks the world to consider this all-encompassing question, they are walking the walk of advice in the video “A Brief History of How Plastic Has Changed Our World,” beginning with the goal of ceasing plastic shrink-wrapping of all NatGeo global subscriptions by the end of 2019.
“It’s going to take more than recycling to fix our plastic problem; we’ll need to stop using so much of it in the first place.”
— “A Brief History of How Plastic Has Changed Our World,” National Geographic video, 2018.
Data sourced from Roland Geyer of the University of California, Santa Barbara, notes that in 2015, 72 million tons of plastic was produced for building and construction. ASTM International and the Association of Plastic Recyclers highlighted the challenges of recycling different kinds of plastic, including construction materials. PVC (that can be found in plastic flooring like luxury vinyl tile) is the most difficult to recycle and the data notes that not all plastic is recyclable.
Optimum Technologies reports in “The Problems with LVT Flooring in LEED Certified Buildings” that the petroleum used to create vinyl flooring is a pollution double whammy. Not only is petroleum a nonrenewable resource, it is mostly imported. So, just getting petroleum to the vinyl manufacturer uses more resources and contributes to air pollution. Significant from this report is that millions of pounds of LVT are thrown away each year and that most vinyl will not decompose naturally in a landfill. It’s clear that part of the plastic pollution problem is right under our feet!
How to Help in a BIG Way
- Ceramic tile, which is composed of naturally occurring materials, is 100% inert material that typically meets the requirements to be used as clean fill.
- Designers and architects can reduce plastic pollution by specifying the natural choice of ceramic tile.
- Consumers can commit to reducing plastic use and understand that the choice of ceramic tile is a healthy, durable, and beautiful choice for both their families and the planet.
The natural choice of ceramic tile is one of the biggest choices you can make toward reducing pollution in your home building and remodeling. Small steps matter, too. Kathryn Kellogg writes about a zero-waste lifestyle in her blog Going Zero Waste. You may know Kathryn from reports on her successful year-long zero-waste effort that yielded only a mere pint jar of noncompostable/recyclable lifestyle waste. (Would be difficult to reduce vinyl flooring into a pint jar!) NatGeo also offers Six Things You Can Do (and Feel No Pain).
Planet or plastic? is a thoughtful, multi-year campaign from the experts that know our planet best. The large and small decisions of our lives have added up to the convenience of a throw-away lifestyle that is now at war with our quality of life and the future of our planet. You’ve decided to make a difference and you’re ready to make a smart, eco-friendly choice—
- WhyTile showcases the endless combination of ceramic tile colors, shapes, styles, and applications. Be inspired today through our searchable design galleries.
- Greensquaredcertified.com houses a database for locating green certified products.
- The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation offers a zip code locater for searching qualified installers in your area.
- Now, enjoy the choice of ceramic tile for a lifetime!