It sometimes seems ridiculous to care about a few plastic bottles when we look at what is happening around the world. Just as we could see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel, it now feels that if your not under floodwater, your under bombs. And the associated destruction of the environment that goes with all of these events is unimaginable, let alone how peoples’ lives are impacted.
But we don’t stop making our own small differences when things take a turn for the worse in other parts of the world. And if we did, this would just add to the ever increasing problems.
The world has produces around 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic since 1950. It’s estimated that around two thirds has ended up in landfill, rivers or oceans. Plastics are a huge contributor to climate change as most are produced from fossil fuels. It’s hard to imagine that ONE MILLION PLASTIC BOTTLES are purchase EVERY 60 SECONDS. And 5 trillion plastic bags are used globally every year. We even have a new marine habitat called the ‘platisphere’ that will eventually become part of the fossil record. (United Nations Environment Programme). What a shameful legacy!
But for every horror story there are plenty of good news stories about plastic bans, new technology, behaviour change and plastic alternatives.
New regulations coming in NSW
Close to home in NSW, the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 was passed in the NSW Parliament heralding a phasing out of single-use plastics from June 2022. It describes a prohibited plastic item as ‘a plastic item that is unnecessary or, for environmental, human health or economic reasons, including reasons relating to waste management or resource management, problematic.’ Hotel mini guest soaps jump to mind of course!
Rimping supermarket chain in Thailand is using banana leaves as an alternative to plastic for packaging their vegetables. Not only fully biodegradable, but they look beautiful too. (They are also working on replacements for the plastic stickers).
There are plenty of good news stories and plenty of people working towards a plastic free world. It gives us all hope!
Check out Plastic Free July for some inspiration.