Plastic is forever. Why you should switch to reusable rather than disposable
More than 60 billion tons of plastic are produced each year. A large amount of resources and energy are needed to create plastic. Most is made from fossil fuels which are a non-renewable resource. The manufacturing process creates gases and harmful chemical byproducts.
Single use plastic has a shockingly short lifespan and a shockingly large impact on the environment. Items such as drinking straws and cutlery are used for an average of 20 minutes but then spend 100s of years in landfill. Apart from being a blot on the landscape and taking up valuable space, landfill plastic leaches chemicals and gases into the soil, ground water and air.
Oceans are transformed into a plastic soup.
There is also a good chance that plastic gets lost along the way and ends up in the oceans. Since our oceans are downstream from every place on earth they receive a lot of the plastic waste generated on land. Plastic constitutes an estimated 90% of trash floating on the oceans' surfaces.
Last year a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that by 2050 plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans this is, quite frankly, -shocking!.
Did you know that disposable plastic straws are in the top 10 most common items of trash found in the oceans and on the beach?
Plastic is forever
Unlike other types of trash, plastic does not biodegrade. Instead, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into tiny pieces that never really disappear, but never completely biodegrades.
These pieces are eaten by marine life which transfers toxic chemicals into our food chain.
Injuring marine creatures
Marine life becomes injured or entangled in plastic. Remember the poor Costa Rican Sea turtle who suffered dreadfully due to just one plastic drinking straw?
But, surely some plastic items e.g. straws and cutlery, are recyclable?
Yes but sadly most straws don't even get the chance. They get thrown out in the wrong bins. Even if they do go to the recycle plant because they are so small and weigh so little they can fall through the filtering process and end up in landfill or oceans anyway.
Some plastic cutlery can be recycled but, as above, is not disposed of initially in the right place. Also, there is the issue of food contamination which means that if you don't wash the fork, spoon or knife before putting in the recycling bin it may be rejected and off to landfill it goes.
The statistics are grim
Only 5% of plastic as a whole is actually recycled. As we see, even recyclable products are not always recycled. Even if we stop using plastic now the exisiting plastic will remain with us for many generations, threatening the health of humans, wildlife and our planet.
There is however something we can do to make our plastic future less bleak
** For each item sold we will donate 5% profits towards funding Beach Clean-Ups in the UK through MCS.uk.org.