Plastic pollution and eco-alternatives
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
A report published by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) last week (18th August) reveals that the amount of plastic in the ocean could be a lot more than initially feared. With estimates that there is at least 10 times more plastic in the Atlantic than previously thought. The recent discovery found up to 21 million tonnes worth of plastic floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
The report, written by Katsiaryna Pabortsava and Richard S. Lampitt, gives a strong indication that the prediction 'more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050' made by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2016, may happen sooner than initially thought.
Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the sea every year, with it being found in 60% of seabirds and 100% of sea turtle species. According to OceanConservancy.org, plastic production and consumption is predicted to double over the next 10 years.
Here's what you can do to help:
Prepare your meals in advance, as lunch bought on-the-go is not only an unhealthier option but is usually wrapped in single-use plastic. We love these bamboo lunchboxes as they are eco-friendly and each purchase donates 25p to Friends of the Earth!
Grow your own. We strongly recommend growing fruit and veggies from home. Stuck for space? Try using a hydroponic garden to grow herbs, salads, flowers and fruiting vegetables. Hydroponic gardens work using formulated soil, giving your produce the exact amount of nutrients, water and oxygen it needs.
Don't replace unless necessary. Don't feel guilty for having plastic items in your house already, the most sustainable products are the ones you already have!
Use refill stations for essentials like washing-up-liquid, laundry liquids and all-purpose cleaners. Don't have time to find a refill station? There are lots of places now specialising in plastic-free alternatives, you can find eco-friendly laundry capsules, shampoo and body-wash bars and even biodegradable sanitary items.
Be aware of 'Greenwashing' or 'Green Sheen'. This is where businesses promote their products as being eco-friendly, when they could actually be doing more harm to the planet. Always do your research before investing in a company, there's a great article here about how to be 'Greenwash Vigilant'.
Buy loose fruit and veg rather than pre-packaged. We recommend bringing your own containers to the supermarket with you to keep your new produce protected. Sainsbury's was the first supermarket to ditch single-use plastic for their fruit and veg, their mission is to ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Read more about this here!
Take a bread bag to the supermarket or local bakery with you, rather than using a plastic or paper bag.
Wash your face masks rather than throwing them away. Local beach cleanups are now finding more face masks than plastic bags.