We’ve all heard about plastic pollution and how much it sucks for the environment.
It never (never, ever) biodegrades. The same properties that made plastics useful (think: durability and resistance to degradation), also make them nearly impossible to completely break down. Most plastic items never fully disappear - they just break apart into smaller and smaller (and smaller) plastic particles aka microplastics and nanoplastics.
We’re producing more than ever. This is a relatively “new” world problem. Since the 1950s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. We’ve also seen a shift away from the production of durable plastic (think: tupperware) toward plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use (think: take away).
It’s like petrol. More than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal. However you think about it, these are dirty, non-renewable resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world’s total oil consumption.
It’s not getting recycled. Only a small percentage (9%) of all plastics actually gets recycled. The majority goes underground in landfills or makes it way into our oceans. We’ve seen those images when animals eat it or get entangled in it.
It ends up back in our stomachs. So, remember those microplastics we spoke about? Many of these tiny plastic particles are swallowed by farm animals or fish who mistake them for food. They’ve also been found in a majority of the world’s tap water. Yep, those microplastics are eaten by us and drunk by us. Not really the kind of recycling we meant, right?
Ugh! What can we do?
Great news. There are heaps of plastic alternatives to start moving toward plastic-free living.
- Obviously we’re going to say, switch those plastic dog poop bags to totally compostable Jerry Bags - the best compostable doggy bags in the biz
- Choose unpackaged, plastic-free produce where you can (you’re going to wash those apples anyway)
- BYO water bottles, coffee cups & champagne flutes wherever you go
- Do you really need a straw? Probably not
📷 Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash
Image description: Coloured bits of plastic products collected and arranged on the sand at the local shoreline and harbourfront. Plastic is sorted by colour. Ontario, Canada.