Nicola Craig Hora, SINGTEX Group, ESG Management Dpt. Senior Global Sustainability Manager
Marine debris, especially plastic waste have become a larger and larger global concern. As early adopters of sustainable manufacturing practices, SINGTEX Group looks at ESG management and development holistically, emphasizing on both social responsibility and environmental protection. Small acts of service can have a big impact and become world-changing events!
This past October SINGTEX® Group organized a volunteering trip to Yilan on the East Coast of Taiwan. Everyone joined in together to do a huge beach cleanup at Zhuangwei Sand Dunes Ecological Park. Our volunteer team had over 50 people and included SINGTEX® Group employees with their friends and families. It was a diverse all-ages group, the youngest being just 6 months old!
When we arrived at the beach, our group quickly realized just how essential the cleanup was. Because a typhoon had just passed, the beach was covered in plastics that had washed up on shore. Seeing all that garbage and realizing that this was only the garbage that had managed to wash back onto land was heartbreaking.
The more we cleaned, the more we noticed that the majority of garbage collected was single use plastics like polystyrene foam, bottles, utensils, and fast food packaging - all things that we had the ability to use less of in our daily lives. There were some bigger surprises too such as a propane tank, a few plastic laundry baskets, and lots of old fishing equipment including ropes, nets, and buoys.
Recent estimates by conservation organizations like OCEANA are that every minute, two garbage trucks worth of plastic are ending up in our oceans due to both accidental and illegal dumping. In all cases, plastics in our ocean have detrimental effects on wildlife. It’s hard to know exact numbers but the WWF estimates that 56% of the world’s whales, dolphins and porpoises have eaten plastic garbage and ocean plastics are resulting in the death of at least 100,000 marine mammals annually.
Throughout the past few years SINGTEX® has led a number of ocean focused initiatives to clean the ocean and prevent future pollution. On World Earth Day 2022 we launched the 13th generation of our patented S.Café® yarn called S.Café® Ocean which uses a combination of ocean plastics and ocean bound plastics with our patented recycled coffee technology. We have also been working with a local NPO called Azure Alliance to build remote controlled boats that clean harbors across Taiwan.
During this volunteer event it was great to see such a large group of people joining in on the beach cleanup. It was especially inspiring watching the multi-generational families volunteering together. The trip helped us all realize the full impact that lowering our reliance on plastics could have on our oceans.