Why it’s important to be plastic free.

Do we ever really think about the consequences of over using plastic? Sure, we
do in that moment when we read a really inspiring article but how do we
continue to be inspired by sustainability and protecting our environment when we are away from the media?

It’s true. We are a particular generation of humans who have become so
accustomed to a grab and go lifestyle it almost seems impossible to change our
ways. We claim we try our best, but I guarantee you have put single use plastic
in your bins because it was easier than nipping to the recycling bin outside. We
claim the amount of packaging we receive in our online orders is “ridiculous”,
but we continue to keep ordering. We feel a little tug on our heart strings
when we see the devastating images of the turtles trapped in our rubbish, and
for that moment we feel a sense of guilt. But that’s all it is, a moment. If we
were trying our best, there would be more than 10-13% of plastic actually
being recycled.


So what is single-use plastic and why is it so talked about? Single-use plastics
are designed to be used just once. For example, plastic bags, straws, food
packaging and drinks bottles. We use these household items daily without
thinking about the environmental impact. Most brands and businesses depend
on plastic for financial stability but it is key to recognise that some brands are
making positive changes in reducing the amount of plastic within their
business. Take Waitrose for example, trailing “bring your own container” to
reduce plastic waste in items such as cereal, pasta and rice. Waitrose
‘unpacked shop’ outsold their packaged equivalents by 68%, meaning we are environmentally conscious when it’s presented in front of us.
Humans world-wide produce an estimated 300 million tons of plastic each
year. Half of this is disposable but unfortunately only 10-13% is actually being
recycled.


Single-use plastic is talked about so much because it isn’t biodegradable and
sits pilling up on huge landfills. The bigger the landfill, the more chemicals pass
through into the soil, eventually poisoning the water table. Plastic however can
degrade (break down) into tiny particles after many of years of sitting in the
ground, which is generally how it sneaks its way into our beautiful oceans. 

We have seen the devastating images of our sea animals being killed and
trapped by our waste and charities such as Less Plastic are consistently fighting for change. It’s not just our oceans that are suffering, our beaches are too. Many
have stepped up to volunteer in a beach clean-up, which have become and
world-wide phenomenon. If you haven’t heard of these before, search for your
local beach clean up to be a part of something environmentally impactful.
Here’s a few facts about our oceans if we don’t start to make simple changes
(from Well Earth Goods):

  • Nearly all ocean pollution comes from land.
  • By 2050 it is projected that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight).
  • One in four fish tested contain plastic. This plastic is entering the food chain and ends up on our plates.
  • Tens of thousands of marine animals are killed every year from plastic bag litter when they mistake plastic bags for food such as jellyfish.

Now you have the knowledge of single-use plastic, will you be affected just in
this moment or will you take this feeling with you when you next think about
running to the recycle bin or completing your weekly food shop? Be the
change.

Written by Hollie Wilkinson

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