More than 8 billion tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.
Plastic have only been around for approximately seventy years and already we’ve seen it change almost every aspect of our lives, but plastics are also changing the world in ways that many of us do not see or want to think about on a daily basis.
On a weekly basis millions of plastic Q Tips are disposed of in household toilets. Due to their thin structures they slip through into our rivers and oceans, resulting in marine life consuming them and ultimately they wind up being present in our own food chains. In 2016 City to Sea lead a campaign entitled Switch the Stick which put pressure on major retailers across the UK to switch from plastic based Q Tips to biodegradable paper stem buds.
Similar solutions could be present in the opportunity to return to hand delivered milk in glass bottles rather than bulk buying from supermarkets. Homes ordering hand delivered milk in glass bottles has decreased from 94% in 1975 to just 3% from 2016. However, orders for hand delivered milk are increasing, with more and more couples in their 30’s and 40’s signing up to switch from plastic to glass. If we can make this switch with milk, then why not other products too?
Competition from shops and retailers could also be changing with villages such as Aberporth who made headlines in 2018 when they teamed up with Plastic Free Coastlines to earn the title ‘plastic free’. This scheme covers various aspects and objectives relating to reduction of plastic pollution such as providing education to the local schools and helping retailers slowly swap their products for plastic alternatives.
It may seem a daunting task but the solutions could lie in the smallest aspects of day to day life. Plans are currently being drawn up to introduce new drinking fountains into London in order to reduce the number of plastic bottles being used. As a recent survey conducted by Keep Britain Tidy produced results that showed only 7% of people drink from water fountains and 55% were concerned about their cleanliness.
At the same time the government is looking to encourage an increase in recycling through the introduction of a return and reward scheme across the UK which they hope will make recycling an overall easier process for the public to appropriately follow.