And it breaks down, rather than decomposing and turns into micro-plastics, which finds its way into our oceans and enters our food system. A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one rubbish truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. This is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.By 2050 scientists predict that the oceans will contain more plastic than fish.
So what can we do to stem the flow of plastics into our oceans? Choosing to buy products with less packaging or no packaging altogether makes a big difference.
Let’s commit to #breakfreefromplastic.
1) Bring resuable bags and containers
Have a couple of cotton bags stashed in your pockets, by the front door, in the car. Make sure that you never need to use a flimsy plastic carrier bag again because you always carry a sturdy reuseable one with you. We love the string bags at turtlebags.co.uk and the cotton bread bag at boobalou.co.uk.
2) Ditch the plastic water bottle
Around the world, we buy a million plastic bottles per minute. And the average citizen could save 156 plastic bottles annually by choosing a reusable water bottle. We like onegreenbottle.com, the cool range at asliceofgreen.co.uk, (including stainless steel straws) and the lush designs at chillysbottles.com.
3) Get better at recycling
While it is technically possible to recycle most plastics, the cost of doing so has prevented this happening until recently. In the past few years the UK has seen rapid growth in the amount of plastic collected and separated for recycling but we are still only at 32% of total plastics recycled. Read about how to recycle plastics at recycle-more.co.uk and find uses for recycled plastic at wrap.org.uk.
4) Choose reusable items such as washable nappies
Currently in the UK about eight million disposable nappies are thrown away each day, which accounts for about three percent of our household waste. Using real nappies can dramatically reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and minimise our impact on the environment. We love the range at babipur.co.uk. Check out lush.com for plastic free bathroom products such as shampoo bars. Use reusable sanitary products, available at ecorainbow.co.uk
These ideas are a good place to start, but we’ve so much further to go. Please post your #breakfreefromplastic suggestions below.
Check out the campaign at breakfreefromplastic.org and find out the brands to support and those to avoid.