The Problem with Plastic, and Potential Solutions
Decades ago plastic was championed for its versatility, cheap cost and practicality as a food packaging. Fast forward 50 years and the drawbacks of plastic vastly outweigh the benefits, with its use creating a problem of oceanic proportions. It seems not a day goes by without a mention of the impact plastic waste is having on the planet – but why exactly is it so harmful, and what can you do to be part of the solution? Read on for answers!
Not So Fantastic Plastic
At Hunter & Gather we love to take a positive outlook on life, forever optimists and always looking to brighten your day in whichever way possible! But unfortunately, this is just one frog we can’t kiss. The impact plastic is having on the planet, it’s animals and us is just indefensible and we have to change our ways to put a stop to it.
How did we get here? The vast majority of foods need packaging and plastic is a material that is favoured in the industry for its low cost, high malleability and tough durability. Unfortunately, once used this plastic is tossed aside, only to linger in landfills and eventually end up dumped in our oceans. Those same qualities that make it so hard-wearing cause it to be almost indestructible, so it lingers on the seabed for literally centuries.
There are some topics that are frequently covered in the news – namely Brexit and the Kardashians! In recent years plastic waste has joined them on the podium to grab bronze – with a new story almost every day.
There’s no denying the impact plastic waste is having on the planet. Let’s take a look at some key statistics:
- 300 Million Tonnes of plastic is produced each year
- 8 Million Tonnes ends up in our oceans – the equivalent of 1 truck every minute!
- By 2050 there will be as much plastic in the ocean as there are fish, according to the UN
- 80% of plastic in our oceans originates from land, mostly carrier bags and plastic bottles
- 90% of Seabirds Ingest Plastic which leads to plastic toxicity and later death
- Dead Zones – areas or the ocean which lack oxygen due to pollution – are on the rise
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex of marine debris now covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometres
These stats may seem staggering but the reality of it is that every massive problem originates as one piece of plastic that someone chose not to recycle. The past is the past but we are now more informed than ever and in a position to u-turn our purchasing and producing habits for the good of the planet and it’s marine life!
The biggest thing we want to get across to you in this article is that YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! For every time you’ve thought “does it really matter if I don’t recycle this” or “will it make a difference if I recycle that” please remember that you are one of almost 8 billion people on the planet!
For every you standing there dubious weighing up the benefits of recycling some plastic versus the effort it takes to do so, remember there are literally billions of other people having the same thought! You can make a difference, and you do every day when you recycle, reuse and reduce your waste.
So the next time your hand hovers over the waste bin – consider where that piece of packaging will end up. That is literally what we are dealing with here. If your plastic won’t degrade then it will pursue the familiar journey of bin to landfill to ocean – and end up contributing to the suffering and even death or our marine life and precious ecosystems.
Here’s some good starting moves to lessen your impact on the environment and reduce your plastic waste:
- Weigh Up Your Waste – These handy dual-bins have separate compartments for food waste and recycling, which makes it a breeze to send your plastic on a recycling journey!
- Reusable Bags - Charges for supermarket carrier bags have already resulted in an 80 percent drop in plastic bag use in England. This has promoted the public to use their own reusable bags instead.
- Ditching Plastic Straws – These little sip slides have proven a challenge to remove from the ocean and are a massive problem when it comes to marine life. Good news is that massive corporations have already begun to replace them with eco-friendly paper counterparts.
- Mimicking Microplastics – Minute plastics found in exfoliants and beauty products lie on the ocean bed for centuries. Marine life struggles to differentiate these tiny molecules from food and subsequently feed it to their young, filling their bellies with harmful plastic. Replacing microplastics with natural alternatives has proven a good move for the beauty industry.
Real Food that’s Real Good
We created our real food range to provide you with products that are not only nutritious and delicious but also environmentally sound. Caring for the environment is one of our founding principles, which is why we limit our use of plastics and use glass containers that are easily recycled.
Plus you can get creative with your used Hunter & Gather packaging too by checking out these 10 Quirky Ideas for recycling, reusing and re-loving your empty jars.
Choosing to buy from suppliers who are eco-conscious and value sustainability is just one way in which you can help to protect the environment from the damage of plastic waste.
Feeling motivated? Here’s some more inspiration to make packing up plastics that bit easier!
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