• JP Taxman

Plastic Crisis Analogy




So you're in a square room


In this room, there are 3 holes on one wall, and one on the other.


There's also a spigot that dispenses water for you.


The ground is made of dirt.


Your objective is to dig your way out of the room.


One of the 3 holes dispenses a plastic shovel every 3 days.


You dig with the shovel and each time its breaks you get a new one from one of the 3 holes every 3 days.


When one breaks you throw it into the trash which is the single hole on the other wall.


You keep doing this as you dig and drink and throw away.


One day you notice your drinking water is a little dirty and wonder why.


You look into the trash hole and realize the shovels you're throwing away are getting thrown directly into your drinking water.


So, not wanting to die, you stop digging.


But the shovels don't stop coming because you stop digging. So they start to pile up. Soon enough you’re surrounded by shovels. They fill up the room.


What you don't know is that each shovel is made by a different machine.


And they also supply to 3 other rooms of people digging.


After a while, the 3 other people realize what is going on and stop digging.


The machines have an artificial intelligence, some better than others, and only one machine changes its behavior and beings to start making a quickly dissolving biodegradable shovel.


The other two machines keep making plastic ones. You can get rid of the new biodegradable ones now, but you still have the shovels from before and the other two machines keep making plastic shovels because it’s too hard for those two to switch since they are older models and one of the other 3 people keep using the plastic shovels keep throwing them away because they couldn’t stand the mess in the room.


As this analogy is eluding to, plastic usage is a pretty serious issue in the world right now. Our oceans are completely littered with microplastics, and the worlds plastic usage probably is not stopping or slowing down.


As the analogy eludes to, even if America stops using oil-based plastics that don't dissolve in the ocean other countries will likely continue to produce it. So the problem doesn’t get solved if just America solves it.


Regardless of that fact, at uprelief we do want to do our part to not add to the consumption even though "the shovels" will keep piling up.


Now, as we get our start, we will likely have to, unless otherwise specified by the client to not use it, but sadly plastic alternatives will significantly increase costs. Over time, however, we plan to shift over to hemp plastics as a replacement.


Hemp to us is the “god” crop. You can do almost anything with it and we plan to use as much of it as possible. We have plans to use hempcrete and hemp cotton. Whatever that endlessly producible plant lets us make with it, were going to try to make with it!


Our goal is to be as sustainable as possible, we want to be smart with how we use power, the way our products are designed and discarded and do our best to save everyone pools of money along the way.


If you have any other suggestions for great sustainability viable materials that are cost-effective to use please reach out and let us know about it!

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