Most people know we've got a bit of a problem with plastic - some of us more than others. If you're already aware (or find the details a bit too depressing) skip over the following list. I've included it because I've found it necessary when talking about greener options to have an understanding of the facts. I've taken the information from a variety of reliable sources but it is changing all the time.
Problems: so much of it is single use; it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade; the decomposing process creates an even more complex problem of microplastics which have been found in soil, rain, air, dirt, and even humans (we have yet to measure the full effects of this but it can't be healthy); it now uses about 14% of the world's oil production (in its composition and in its production (so the oil industry will keep pushing it as we move to cleaner energy - especially fracking co.s); worldwide, the industry is linked to around 900 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year (if plastic were a country, it would be the fifth highest emitter in the world); it's waste is clogging up our rivers and oceans (currently, plastic can be found in 90% of sea bird stomachs, and in the guts of 50% of sea turtles (never mind plugging up drainage and sewerage systems and causing floods); plastic production plants and landfill sites have been associated with producing dangerous airborne toxins and causing explosions; burning plastic waste in incinerators, whether in the UK or across the globe, releases tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, along with dioxins and other harmful chemicals contained in their composition - so far despite attempts at filtration.
So, what do we do? Some plastics are essential - but some definitely are not! Reduce is the key word and our Facebook page gives you lots of ideas how. Take a look at the Greenpeace pdf Living-with-less-plastic-handbook.pdf (thebigplasticcount.com) too. It's a reminder that: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” 😊