Earlier this year, Dame Ellen MacArthur fronted a rather depressing report that there will be more waste plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, unless private industry literally sorts its shit out. Just let that sink in. More plastic - by mass - than fish. More synthetic, non-degradable, toxic material, than living fish.
We might pat ourselves on the back for separating our waste into little blue bins, but globally only 5% of plastics are recycled effectively. A shocking 40% ends up in landfill - with over a third literally being dumped into the world’s oceans. If you're not getting angry yet, you obviously aren't reading close enough.
"At least 8m tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean – which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. If no action is taken, this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050
“In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish." - Ellen MacArthur Foundation
There are moves by parts of the industry to make a difference - the use of bioplastics, and the overall reduction of petrochemical plastics in packaging. But it looks to be going far too slow for the environment, as global waterways become clogged up and large garbage patches form in the ocean's gyres.
What do we - the normal folk - do about this?
First - use your wallet. Buy from shops and brands that effectively minimise the amount of plastics they produce and use in packaging. Check the website of your favourite brands - do they have a commitment to reduce waste? How are they doing against that?
Second - buy loose, buy fresh. Your fruit and veg weren't born in plastic bags and boxes. That frozen pizza, aside from just being empty carbs is wrapped in a thin waste of PVC. Ditch it from your shopping list.
Third - bag for life. Leaving the house without a bag is pretty much the same as wandering around without a condom in your wallet. You're asking for trouble. (Oh, we've got some of those for sale, btw). THTC is working towards completely deplasticising our business. Currently, we use recycled plastic mailing bags but are currently testing out new compostable bio-evelopes, and will hopefully have these implemented by Summer '16.
If your life doesn't allow you the time to make these three simple changes - you might want to reevaluate.
"Plastic Fish" - was designed by inimitable street artist, Mau Mau, illustrating the threat represented by plastic waste in our oceans. This design is available on Hemp and organic cotton.
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