Plastic, oh how I loathe you. Its impact & why we avoid it

I truly loathe plastic. That is the child-friendly version for articulating my true feelings. For me, eliminating plastic waste is my main goal - I have seen how big an impact plastic has on the planet.

So, why do I feel like this, you ask? What are the facts? What is it that I've seen, read and learned that has made me want to take this journey? Well, where do I start... Firstly, plastic is made from oil, which is the largest polluting industry in the world. Plastic was created to be a long-lasting, durable material, and so it doesn’t really make any sense as to why we typically use it to make disposable, single-use items. Single-use plastic is the main contributor to ocean pollution. Plastic doesn’t really ever go away, it just breakdowns into tiny pieces known as Microplastics. This means things like plastic bags, or plastic cutlery that we throw away will eventually break down into thousands of smaller bits of plastic, adding to the growing amount of microplastics polluting our oceans. 

Only 10-20% of the world's plastic is recycled and pretty much all plastic ever made still exists today. A large amount of it ends up in our oceans, killing marine animals in what can often be a slow and painful death. As plastic breaks down it also releases toxins which have been shown to be detrimental to our health - these toxins are now showing up in the food on our plates. This can be attributed to the amount of microplastics entering our food supply chain and even our water supply as a result of plastic pollution.

A Plastic Ocean

The documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ does a great job at highlighting the heart-breaking truth about what we are doing to our planet and how out of control plastic pollution is. I would highly recommend taking the time to watch it if you haven’t already – it is pretty confronting on multiple levels, but is totally worth the watch. It honestly brought me to tears and definitely opened our eyes even more to the impact humankind is having on the health of our planet.

I have even had friends who have watched this, and some with their young kids, inspiring them to make a change. In fact the other week I was with my friend and her 5-year-old son. He was picking up all the rubbish on the street, putting it in the bin and asking people as they walked past to help. This is the sweetest thing I have seen, watching a 5-year-old put other people's rubbish in the bin to help protect the ocean and the animals.

The Eco Society plastic pollution

The issue I find is that most products seem to come with some form of plastic – be it food, beauty products, appliances - the list is endless. There are even some everyday items we don’t even realise have plastic in them, like tea bags (yup, teabags contain plastic, something I have only recently learned!). So if you watch ‘A plastic Ocean’, which I strongly suggest you do (available on Netflix), you will understand why I loathe plastic so much, and why I am making a conscious choice to remove plastic from our lives.

We still have a long way to go and there are some plastics that I have not been able to avoid, but this is a journey and something that we will continue to work towards in our fight to reduce waste.

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