Of course you have no intention of drinking oil. Oil is for cars and lawnmowers and jetliners. It’s not a beverage. And yet, every time you sip from a plastic cup, you are drinking from a petroleum-based product.
We have PTSD from high school chemistry, so we’re going to keep this simple. Plastic was originally a plant and animal based product. The recipe included Gutta-percha, a latex derived from tree sap, shellac, which comes from the secretion of insects, animal horns and camphor. Then in 1951, chemists at the Phillips petroleum company invented polyethylene plastics and history was made. Today, polyethylene is the most widely produced plastic in the world.
So what’s wrong with plastic? Let us count the ways.
1. Plastics are made from oil. Oil is a non-renewable resource that wreaks havoc on our environment. According to the EPA, 10-25 million gallons are spilled every year, polluting the air and water, destroying fragile ecosystems and killing wildlife.
2. Plastics are also made from natural gas. And that’s not much better. Two-thirds of natural gas comes from fracking, a water-intensive process that releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and can contaminate drinking water.
3. Plastic pollutes the ocean. Nearly 70% of the litter in the ocean is plastic. In 2010, 4 million to 12 million metric tons of plastic entered the world’s seas—enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet.
4. Plastic contains hormone-disrupting chemicals. BPA became the buzzword, but plastic contains a slew of other chemicals that mess with our endocrine systems. A University of Texas study found that almost all commercially available plastic products leach harmful chemicals—even if they’re labeled BPA-free.
Repurpose’s entire line of compostable cups, plates, bowls and utensils is made from plant-based materials like corn and sugar cane. Because drinking, eating, slurping or swallowing oil is gross. See for yourself: