The Dangers of Plastic
Due to its convenience and durable nature, plastic is one of the most widespread forms of packaging. In the last fifty years, over 1 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced. What makes this a really scary fact is that every piece of plastic produced still remains somewhere on this earth today.
One of the biggest culprits is single-use products. In just one week, people across the globe go through 10 billion plastic shopping bags worldwide. In the USA, an average of 2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour, and 500 million straws are used each day. *
While a popular choice due to their convenience, low-cost, and strength, plastic bags clog up landfills, storm drains, and suffocate wildlife. And though these bags can technically be recycled, the actual rates of recycling are often low and require a ton of energy and resources to do so.
Our oceans are also affected, as marine debris in the form of plastic waste is a major contributing factor for the integrity of our ecosystems. Impacts to wildlife include entanglement, strangulation, and ingestion. It is estimated that over 80% of marine debris comes from the land, affecting over 270 different marine species. Of the top ten items found in ocean debris, five are associated with plastic beverages. **
In order to find a solution to the issues associated with rapid consumption, we need to do more. It’s about recycling, refusing, reducing and reusing. The simplest and easiest thing you can do is to remember your cloth shopping bags and water bottles. Next, refuse excess packaging and choose reusable alternatives. By using your own reusable bottle, takeaway cup and reusable straw (or refusing one), we can work together to reduce plastic consumption.
*(Source: Plastic Free July)
**(Source: Ocean Conservancy)