Me and My Plastic
I made a concerted effort to look at how much I was using and it wasn't good. I took a challenge for a week to keep all the plastic I was using; it shocked me, it was a staggering amount, something that I hadn't really paid that much attention too beforehand. Living in a convenience, throw away society, with a ticking time bomb of plastic. Go into any supermarket and take a look, it's everywhere. And then look in your shopping trolley. How much are you consuming?
Until you start looking at your own consumption, you don't realise how blasé you've become about the stuff; it's just part of our daily lives. Like the next person, I'm a guilty as charged. I don't think it's right to say we as consumers are reliant on plastic, we're not really given the choice; plastic is sublimely part of our lives, take a look in your shopping trolley, how much have you got in there?
Why Plastic is Part of Our Lives
When did plastic become such a big part of our lives? Would it surprise you to say, 1946. The highest proportion of single plastic use came about really in the 2000's with the introduction of more light weight containers introduced started the unprecedented surge and growth in the one use of plastic bottles. The plastic bags made their way from the United States to the UK in 1982. And as they say the rest is history.
What the Stats Say
In the UK alone, it is estimated 5million tonnes of plastic is used annually. More disturbing is that 40% of families are still not recycling plastic waste, which could be recycled. It is believed that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean.
My turning point and why I started to become aware of my consumption was looking at the waste on the yacht I was racing on during the 2015/16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the waste that wasn't bio-degradable was stored; one of the other yachts in the race came across entangled turtles, in disguarded fishing gear and plastic bottles; the recently washed up whale, autopsied, to be found full of plastic and then just last week the tear-jerking film clip from Blue Planet II of the mother whale and her dead calf. Just hearing and seeing the effect that plastic has on the world’s oceans and how the animals that live in the sea and the environment itself effected by single use plastic has really struck a chord with me. It kind of hits home, the impact that our use of single use plastic is having on our oceans. it is suggested that by 2050, they'll be more plastic than fishes in the ocean and that's a scary prospect.
A World Before Mass Plastic Consumption
How did we shop before plastic? Simple!! Paper bags, glass and jars, milk bottles, Corona bottles, do you remember them?. If you went to the butcher or the fish monger everything would be packaged in paper, even I remember that. If you went to the fish and chip shop it was either the off white paper or even newspaper. Everything was recycled. The pop man would come around and collect your Corona empty bottles. Everything was paper, glass and recycling. And buying loose. The supermarkets have made buying in plastic cheaper than buying single plastic free items.
What I'm doing to reduce my plastic
I've made some small changes already, for starters I'm now obsessed with the recycling of plastic (and everything else). Instead of going to the supermarket to buy my fruit and veg, I now go to the greengrocer. Instead of buying meat at the supermarket, I'm now going to the butcher. Little changes have a big effect and I'll do more. I'm already looking at single use plastic at my school.
How are you changing your single use plastic habits?
Statistics used in this blog are taken from: http://plasticfree.co.uk/plastic-stats/
video clip: www.clipperroundtheworld.com/