Plastic problem? What's the big deal?
As you might have heard, plastic and the ocean is a big topic in the headlines at the moment. But why all the big fuss?
97% of the world's water supply comes from the ocean, so we should definitely be trying to protect this valuable resource. Plastic has now formed part of nearly everyone in the UK's daily life - in the UK we use 38.5 million plastic bottles every day.
This plastic then ends up in bin, just discarded on the side of the road or even making it's way into the ocean. Globally only 14% of all plastic is collected for recycling, which is astounding considering it takes 500-1000 years to degrade.
The plastic that then ends up in the ocean, becomes a threat to the marine life, and then in turn affects us humans too. We ingest fish that are filled with plastic, threaten marine species to near extinction and damage vital ecosystems that help support human life.
Plastic bags are a huge culprit. Many species mistake them for jellyfish, a valuable food source and ingest them. Others simply get trapped and tangled and then drown. Most plastic bags have a working life of 15 minutes and it only costs 1p more to make a compostable bag compared to the traditional one. So why aren't we doing this?
Plastic bags aren't the only culprit! What about the takeaway cups that you get in your favourite coffee shop? Only the outer sleeve is currently 100% recyclable. The toothbrush that you use? The hideous amount of packaging that surrounds nearly every piece of food we buy in a supermarket? I mean why do bananas need to be in plastic when they have a perfectly good natural wrapper already?!
These are just a few examples. But we have to be realistic. Becoming totally 100% plastic free is a total ninja move, especially when you are still surrounded by single use plastic. But we can all do our bit to significantly reduce our plastic use in everyday life and in turn help protect our oceans. Here are our top tips how:
1. Use a reusable cup/bottle - don't give in to take away cups and buying bottled water!
2. A bamboo toothbrush - just a minor change but still does a great job compared to your regular plastic one
3. Shopping bags - re use your existing ones and then phase them out to cotton or hemp bags
4. Treat yourself & have an ice cream cone rather than a tub! You know you want to!
5. Use bars of soap rather than liquid soap
6. Use a metal straw - we all know that paper straws are just useless in milkshakes!
7. Shop in bulk, especially for those store cupboard essentials - instantly means less packaging! Also buy items loose. Vegetables, bread in paper bags, nuts, rice and pasta are just a few to get you started. Don't forget your reusable container!
8. Use reusable wrapping paper - pretty died cloths and bees wax paper are amongst some of the options out there.
9. Reusable razors - a staple in most peoples life - leave the disposable ones on the shelf!
10. Ditch balloons, streamers and other plastic based decorations. Did you know you can buy plant based glitter?!