After watching several TV and Youtube documentaries on marine plastic pollution and the devastating impact on marine life, I decided to seriously review our plastic usage and recycling efforts, especially single-use plastics.
One of the most alarming facts to emerge from these documentaries is that plastic breaks down into tiny pieces (microplastics) which then enters the food chain via plankton. The plankton is then eaten by fish. And we eat fish!
According to the European Commission the 10 most common plastic objects found on European beaches and seas are:
Cigarette butts, Drink Bottles, Food Containers, Bags, Crisp Packets/Sweet Wrappers, Balloons and Balloon Sticks, Cutlery, straws and stirrers, Cups and Lids, Cotton Buds, and Sanitary Applicators
I am heartened to read that on the 27 March 2019, The European Parliament agreed on ambitious measures, proposed by the Commission, to tackle marine litter coming from the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on European beaches as well as abandoned fishing gear and oxo-degradable plastics.
Plastic ban in certain products: Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. The ban will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons which will all have to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials instead. Single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached
After watching these videos, every time I see over-packaged products in shops and other single-use plastic items such as bags, condiment sachets, straws and stirrers, I want to scream. I am now looking at every item of plastic packaging in our home to see what, if and how it can be reduced or at least upcycled. While recycling is an option it is not the solution… better not to buy it in the first place!
We are literally drowning in our own plastic waste. What steps have you taken to reduce your use of single-use plastics or plastics in general?