I first wanted to put this part on “About us” section. However, I would think many visitors will get overwhelmed by the following information.
I tend to step back and look at 1 problem in different angels. At first I look at plastic wastes in the mainstream way: replace plastic with bio degradable products – problem solved. However with such complex problems, it is not a straight forward answer. Meanwhile, I realize many marketers “abuse” the term “bio degradable” to lure their consumers. After hours of reading and digging deeper in the the problems, I realize that recycling is a falling system.
The most sustainable way to solve our environment is reduce and reuse. We are not in the area of IoT, where technology is there to help us, to make our life easier, not to against us (like spending hours on social medias). I strongly believe technology will also help us to reduce waste, manage our “things” in an efficient way. We have a vision and technology is tools to make our vision come true.
I hope you enjoy this article and somewhat open another door to see plastic waste differently.
We believe in reusable over disposable, multiple time usages over single-time usages, the efficient looping process over the straight-line system. It might sound vague and hard to grasp the future vision of the economy, especially when the majority of us are getting used to the convenience of “throwing-away” culture.
Starting commercialized in the ’60s, disposable plastic and we had had a great time. It’s so light, durable and convenient. However, during those 6 decades, our convenience has turned our Plantnet into a giant trash bin. Recently, we have witnessed the single-use plastic products are fading away from eco-concious countries like France, Germany, islands in Indonesia, India, etc
Collectively, we start to do more clean up beaches and jogging and pick-up trash. Individually, we bring our personal reusable tote bags, cups, containers. We are purchasing bamboo toothbrushes that are 3 fold times more expensive than the conventional ones. All actions are plausible. All efforts are well welcomed. However, are we the ones who take all the responsibilities?
Let’s zoom out and take a step back, shall we?
Plastic disposables mean you use once and you throw them away. So you will need to keep buying more. Who are the most profitable when you buy more? Plastic manufactures – Yes, Good guess. And who else? Oil companies.
Now, think about another single-use packaging but made from different materials: milk bottles, beer canes etc… Do you see the patterns?
It’s been 60 years since plastic around which has created fast consuming disposable culture? Heard the term FMCG? It stands for Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Packaging is crucially important in FMCG. As the margin is low, companies need to sell in greater volume to be profitable. With the invention of plastic, single-use packaging is the golden answer for FMCG company: Light= lower cost for transportation. Durable = increase lifetime selves = maximize profitable. Cheap = lower packaging costs = higher profitable.
Have you wondered why you don’t see Coca-Cola glass bottles anymore? Have you wondered why milkmen vanished? Those glass bottles of Coca-Cola and milk are long gone because they were expensive to operate (collect, wash, return) for companies and less convenient for consumers. It is true. But now, our plant is filled with plastic! That’s ugly.
To change a habit is hard. It requires a hella lot of supporting factors: 1/us – who demand to change. 2/ businesses: who provide solutions and services. 3/ government – who make guidelines and set fair legislations – crucially important factor.
But if we do not change now, how long will we able to extend the deadline? By 2050, there will be more plastics and fishes in the ocean. Our children will ask ” How did it happen”. I do not want my answer will be: ” I knew it would happen but I decided not to do anything about it.”
(To be honest, 2050 is a bit optimistic)
So what is the bright side?
We believe AYA – circular network of reusable packaging is the answer. We start with AYA cups to fine tune our process and technology. Once the system is in place, we will be able to introduce reusable food containers takeaway and home delivery, clear containers to display fresh products in supermarkets, etc. The possibilities are limitless.
We are not alone. In countries like Germany, France, Swiss etc, the circular economy has been discussed and tested in varied scales. Companies like P&G, Nestle’, Phillips have started their initiatives. The circular economy will be the future that replacing linear economy. Imagine we bring back the milkmen but infused with high-tech when we can live and breath without the need of using disposable plastics!
Linh Le – Founder