What Choice Do We Have? The Good, the Bad and the Plastic
From the bees to the trees to the seas, now more than ever, we as consumers are hearing loud and clear the impacts of large-scale environmental degradation.
Recent research indicates that there is at least 8 million tons of plastic entering the oceans each year. On top of that, the latest headlines also suggest there is more micro-plastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way.
We are living in a world surrounded by plastics, in a culture that thrives on throw-aways and disposables. And I think it’s fair to say that many of us are waking up to some of the harsh realities that result from our buying habits.
The environmental consequences seem dire, if not catastrophic. In the face of such monumental challenges, it is easy to feel hopeless. I sometimes find myself caught up in the belief that my own small changes, change nothing.
But in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When we have the confidence to believe in change, when we begin to change our own habits, we can begin to see the profound effect of collective change.
Whether it’s from the investment in sustainable products by P&G or to the UK Government’s ban on plastic bags or even going to the lengths of Johnson & Johnson and adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into corporate policy, you can’t say change isn’t happening. These changes grow from our collective consumer influence on market demand, and as cheesy as it sounds to say, by changing the demand we are demanding the change.
Although it’s probably safe to say we have a long journey ahead, it is important to celebrate and reflect upon the progressive strides we as individuals are making and the domino effect this has on businesses and governments around the world.
With the 30-year anniversary of KYOCERA in the UK, I found myself reflecting upon our own efforts to be an environmentally conscious organisation.
Whilst many businesses are having to make dramatic changes to appeal to a more environmentally conscious world, it struck me that this is not only something KYOCERA has always done but is also at the very core of its values.
Environmental leadership with KYOCERA
Now I know ceramics probably isn’t the first word that springs to mind when you think of environmental leadership. So, I wanted to shine a light on how KYOCERA’s ceramic technology has spearheaded sustainability and environmental leadership, within its respective sectors.
But what exactly do ceramics have to do with environmental leadership?
Well, just over 25 years ago KYOCERA developed a patented ceramic technology for a new generation of printers, progressively designed to improve the environmental footprint and sustainability of devices within the print industry.
The Tesla of printers, if you will.
This powerful and more sustainable design idea truly went against the grain of the market.
Whilst other manufacturers were building more and more throw-away and single-use parts, KYOCERA was focusing on better design with better environmental credentials. The conventional design of a printer means throwing away the drum, which for anyone who is not a printer-geek, is essentially throwing away the print engine, every single time you change the toner.
Instead, KYOCERA focused on never having to replace the drum.
In fact, KYOCERA were so confident in their design, they offered, and continue to offer, lifetime guarantees on all ECOSYS drums.
The good news doesn’t stop there either, KYOCERA recently launched its first-ever floating solar panel farm in Japan, spanning a massive 44 acres. The project is part of the joint venture between KYOCERA and Tokyo Century that was set-up in 2012 to promote large-scale solar projects.
Some 51,000 solar modules were produced and installed by KYOCERA, which is estimated to generate over 16,000 megawatt hours (MWh) every year; that’s nearly enough electricity to power 5,000 households.
And while we as individuals may not have the ability to create a floating solar panel farm; the one thing we do have is choice. We all have the choice to turn away that plastic straw, a choice to bring a re-usable bag or even the choice to bring your own coffee cup.
There are many inspiring ways we can make small changes that will have a massive impact on our planet, in our oceans and on our health.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE