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Plastic is absolutely everywhere. From items like your clothing, cosmetic products, shampoo even to the lining of your coffee cup! It is a commodity that seems to have infiltrated every corner of our lives. We’ll be discussing some facts about plastic pollution and some tips for how you can reduce your plastic waste.

Half of all plastics that have ever been manufactured were produced in the last 15 years and the rate of production has skyrocketed from around 2.3million tons in 1950, to 448 million tons in 2015, this number is expected to double by 2050. In line with our ‘on the go’ culture, the demand for bottled beverages translates to approximately 20,000 bottles being bought every second. It is also interesting to know, in the UK we have some of the cleanest drinking water in the home, it has been suggested that 1 in 3 family homes still purchase single use bottled water. Save paying twice for water and use it straight from the tap!

Most plastic bottles used for soft drinks and water are actually made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) which is easily recyclable, but unfortunately as the demand increases around the world, we are struggling to keep up with correctly collecting and recycling the bottles. To put this into perspective, in 2016 less than half of the bottles bought were collected for recycling and only 7% of those collected bottles were made into new ones. Instead a huge percentage of the produced plastic bottles ended up in landfill. In the landfill environment they take approximately 450 years to decompose or they end up in the oceans where they are broken down into microplastics that wreak havoc on our precious marine life.

Five Facts About Plastic Pollution

  • One million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute
  • Each year about 8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans from coastal nations
  • It has been calculated by scientists at Ghent University, Belgium that people who eat seafood ingest up to 11, 000 tiny pieces of plastic every year
  • By 2015 an estimated 448 million tons of plastic was produced
  • Nearly 700 species of marine life, including endangered species has been affected by plastic waste

It’s not all doom and gloom though, plastic is unequivocally a part of all of our lives. The focus now needs to be shifted to how we move forward and reduce our reliance on single use plastics – that’s what counts! We know we produce and rely on plastic every day. Currently our technology is advancing into exciting bio-degradable plastics and we are finding new ways to breakdown and recycle our plastic products already in circulation. But for now, we are running the initiative ‘Refill It, Don’t Bin It!’ See our tips below for reducing your single use plastic waste:

Five Tips For Reducing Your Plastic Waste

  • Instead of using a plastic straw, opt for a reusable metal/bamboo straw
  • Who doesn’t love a takeaway coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Reduce your plastic waste by carrying a reusable coffee cup (Top Tip: you often get a small discount as incentive for bringing your own cup! Don’t forget to check with your regular coffee spot for their guidelines on bringing your own cup due to Covid-19)
  • Always carry your reusable water bottle with you when you’re on the go
  • Make a packed lunch with a reusable lunchbox – or to save buying more, reuse your takeaway boxes!
  • Always carry a reusable shopping bag with you and reuse your shopping bags at your food shop to reduce your plastic consumption

As we know, using plastic is virtually inescapable but here we’ve run through some ways you can reduce your reliance on single use plastics, and some facts that’ll hopefully help you make smarter decisions when you’re on the go and at home. Water companies across the UK are working to increase the availability of free drinking water, with a helpful app called Refill where you can search your area for local refill stations, currently 26,000 refill stations are available across the UK. Why don’t you take this opportunity to challenge yourself to keep your reusable drinkware with you on the go?

Sources:

https://www.water.org.uk/blog-post/love-water-not-plastic/

http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/