Pay attention to your plastic use is for just one day, and you’ll understand why it’s so important to quit the stuff. The statistics around the damage plastic does speak for themselves; we give you the facts, then show you ways to reduce your everyday plastic use.
A whopping 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced on this plant since the 1950s. Every minute, one million plastic bottles, and two million plastic bags are bought and used. So, it’s no surprise that 73% of the world’s beach litter is plastic. Each year, plastic kills more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals, while 90% of all birds and fish have plastic particles in their stomach. The most heartbreaking stat of all? Each plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes but takes up to 1,000 years to decompose. Let that sink in. In the last 50 years, plastic production has doubled: we’re in a lot of trouble.
These stats are just plain scary, check out the number of years these single-use items stick around:
Plastic bags: 200-1,000 years
Disposable nappies: 550 years
Plastic bottles: 450 years
Aluminium can: 200-500 years
Foamed plastic cups: 50 years
It’s ever-present; plastic debris is everywhere, from Mount Everest to our oceans. It’s in the guts of seabirds and the stomachs of sea turtles; by 2050, the plastic mass will exceed the total mass of fish living in the seas. It’s the prime product of fracking; taking fossil fuels from shale, which are made into the resin pellets used to make plastic. This pollutes water, soil and air, and forms holes under the ground that collapse into sinkholes and lead to earthquakes. It’s deadly; wildlife eat and become entangled in it, which is unsurprising considering there are approximately 270,000 tonnes of plastic floating in our oceans. There’s also mounting evidence plastic plays a role in the rising rates of extinctions. It’s not all recyclable and not all of it’s recycled; most plastics last forever. There’s a big difference between ‘break down’ and ‘biodegradable’ – breaking plastic down means one large piece is diminished into smaller pieces.
Invest in a reusable coffee cup – they’re practically an accessory these days! If you forget your cup and have to opt for a disposable one: go lidless. Or even better, take five minutes and drink your latte in the café.
These humble items are a significant contributor to plastic pollution. Only used once, then discarded, they end up in landfill. Take a walk along any beach and you’ll see them strewn on the sand. If your local café still uses them, add your voice to the growing demand for change.
With major supermarkets now charging for single-use plastic bags, there are no more excuses for using them. Keep a stash of reusable bags near your front door, and another in your car. Grab a bag and go, so you’re never forced to fork out for a plastic one.
This is an easy one – don’t buy bottled water. Instead, get used to having a +1: your gorgeous glass or stainless steel water bottle that goes everywhere with you. This will also help you consume fewer liquids in Tetra paks and plastic in favour of healthy H20.
Always have a container on hand; for lunch at work, for deli goods and takeaway dinners. Instead of using plastic wrap, use containers or buy a beeswax wrap. This means less styrofoam and plastic containers, and fewer single-use plastic to wrap your items.
● Stainless steel water bottle
● Reusable glass coffee cup
● Reusable produce and shopping bags
● Cutlery pouch for food outside your home
● Stainless steel lunch box
● Glass food storage containers
Once you’ve made these changes, share and swap these tips with your friends; we all have the power to quit plastic.