What can YOU do to reduce plastic pollution?
Friday, 2 February 2018
What Can YOU Do to Reduce Plastic Pollution?
There’s a lot of alarming news about pollution these days and it’s hard to cut through to the issues that really matter. But one issue in particular, that’s as big as global warming, is pollution from international plastic waste.
Scientists estimate that plastic takes around 500 years to start breaking down. Worldwide production of plastic is currently around 300 million tonnes a year and a mere 9% is being recycled. It’s polluting both our lands and oceans at a catastrophic rate, overflowing our landfill.
Plastic waste from the UK has been found in landfill sights in India, Thailand and China of course. This is plastic we shipped over there but was too difficult to sort or too contaminated to recycle.
We're Eating Plastic
As plastic disintegrates it ends up as tiny microplastics, some smaller than a grain of sand. These are ingested by plankton and small fish who think it’s food. They are subsequently eaten by larger prey, until we, the species at the top of the food chain eat them and ingest the micro-plastics.
You may be thinking, ‘I DO recycle! I always put my rubbish in the correct recycling bin. It’s not my fault if it ends up in the sea!’ To a certain degree, you’re right. Once your bin is emptied, what happens to that plastic is really out of your control.
But there is a way you can combat waste plastic before it’s even entered your recycling bin.
Demand an End to Non-Recyclable Plastic!
Plastic is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet, yet we continue to buy plastic bottles, containers and bags made from types of virgin plastic, that is difficult to recycle, every time we shop.
If we reduce demand for non-recyclable plastic, production will switch to plastics that are easier to recycle we can create a closed recycling loop.
So, what would be needed to increase the amount of waste plastic that’s recycled back into something useful?
Simple. Increase your own awareness, adjust your behaviour. Demand either sustainable alternatives or plastics that are 100% recyclable.
Use Your Purchasing Power
Buy recycled plastic products that boost demand for recycled plastic. Look for trainers made from recycled ocean plastic, high-end jeans and even Kedel’s recycled plastic garden furniture. That are themselves 100% recyclable.
It’s time plastic manufacturers, business owners, consumers and everyone in-between stop and ask themselves, what’s more important? Profit or the planet?...
For further reading, and even more advice and knowledge on how you can reduce your plastic pollution footprint, check out SLO active's fantastically detailed article about plastic pollution in the ocean and what we can all do to improve the quality of our oceans for marine life!