We all know that plastics are destroying the oceans! It’s not new to us that our oceans are polluted with plastics. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to ocean health worldwide. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean. And it’s killing marine life and polluting our food chain.
But do we actually know just how bad it really is? Here are some of the facts:
- An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources each year; roughly the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.
- It can take hundreds of years to break down, with plastic bottles taking 450 years on average to degrade.
- The very first piece of fully synthetic plastic was invented in 1907. Since that was just over 100 years ago, it is likely that every single piece of plastic ever made is still swirling around on Earth.
As plastic continues to flood into our oceans, the list of species affected by it expands. Tens of thousands of animals have been observed suffering from the impacts of plastic pollution.
Discussions around this problem and how to solve it, often revolve around the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce is cutting back on the amount of trash we generate. Recycling calls for consumers to turn something old and useless into something new and useful more effectively and more often. And reuse means to find new ways to use things that otherwise would have been thrown out.
Although, unfortunately, this won’t fix the problem. It is estimated that only around 9 per cent of all plastic waste generated has been recycled.
So, how can we be part of the solution?
We all can be part of a better future, with actions that may seem small but can make a difference, such as: stop using single-use plastics (or at least recycle them!), refuse plastic whenever possible, say no to straws, lids, plastic bags, and plastic takeaway containers. Instead, carry your own utensils; Sign petitions for the cause; Use reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and bags; whenever we see plastic in nature, we can collect it and recycle it if possible or put it in the trash can.
But we can also go beyond that—look for ways to support companies that make products out of recycled materials, or companies that donate a portion, or even join to cleanups at the beach for example.
We also think that brands and the industry play a larger role than individuals, and can change things in a bigger scale.
Researches show that customers, nowadays, strongly believe that doing something good for the world should be part of a company’s core business plan, and that businesses should act urgently to reduce their plastic footprint to prevent reputational and material damage.
Furthermore, there are many business benefits to be derived from using less plastic, including: cost savings, efficiency improvements, enhanced brand reputation, more engaged employees and increased sales.