For many years, ‘disposable’ has been understood to mean ‘discarded after use’. Razors, nappies, utensils, cups, cameras and packaging have all been created and used in disposable forms.
However, the popularity of ‘disposable’ as a marketing term is plummeting. The declining acceptability of ‘disposable’ is largely due to the fact that fossil fuels are used to make many disposable plastics, which often take centuries to decompose in landfill.
As a result, initiatives to ban disposable shopping bags are gaining momentum.
Last year, the United Arab Emirates reportedly fast-tracked its ban on ‘disposable’ plastic bags created from fossil fuels. According to the UAE Environment Ministry, up to half of all camel deaths were caused by plastic bags.
The use of disposable nappies is also problematic. In Australia, it is estimated that over 800 million disposable nappies find their way to landfill each year.
It’s now understood that products labelled with the word ‘disposable’ actually invite people to throw the product away with little regard for the consequences. In contrast, labels such as ‘recyclable’, ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’ encourage people to consider how to responsibly dispose of a product before they purchase it.