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Plastic Planet


Plastic Planet

At the beginning of February this year, a distressed Cuvier's Beaked Whale had to be put to sleep after repeatedly becoming stranded off the coast of Norway. It was then found to have thirty plastic bags wedged inside it's stomach.
Sadly this wasn't a one off scenario, and according to studies by Plymouth University, plastic pollution affects at least 700 species, with an estimated 100 million marine mammals killed by plastic pollution each year
Moreover, an overwhelming amount of plastic pollution isn't even visible to the human eye, with much of the pollution occurring on a microscopic level, or out at sea where we literally don't see it.
The figures above don't even begin to cover the plastic pollution that also takes place on land, where we are using millions of tons of plastic at dangerously and unsustainably high levels (it is estimated 300 million tons of plastic are used each year - and rising).
Plastic never, ever 'goes away,' and around 8 million tons of the stuff ends up in our oceans and seas each year - and frighteningly by 2050 it is thought there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. 

The Impact

But it's not just marine mammals - such as turtles, sea birds, whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions - who are directly impacted by this pollution: we are too. Ghent University in Belgium found that people who eat shellfish are ingesting 11,000 plastic particles a year - good enough reason to go vegan if you ask us...

What can you do? 

Every little does help (to coin a phrase from a certain national retailer who more than likely directly contributes to the plastic problem), and individual actions will eventually add to a bigger, wider solution. 

Recycle

Might seem like an obvious one, but it really does make a difference, especially when local councils now offer recycling facilities literally on your doorstep - just make sure to make the effort of sorting your rubbish into the relevant bins! (Some council areas may impose a fine to those who don't!)

Where possible: just say no!

Often easier said than done, but often plastic consumption is more a case of convenience rather than necessity, especially if you have a family. Here's some ideas of how you can reduce your plastic consumption:

  • Never buy plastic cutlery, plates or straws. Good alternatives are those made of bamboo, and are ideal for out and about!
  • Bring your own reusable bags when shopping - we can highly recommend this cotton shopper  bag from a certain vegan skincare brand...
  • Bring your own bottle (of water or juice that is), instead of buying bottled water when out and about - we particularly love fruit-infusing bottles that can be used over and over again!
  • Don't chew on gum. Traditionally chewing gum was made from a tree sap, but when scientists created synthetic rubber, types of plastic began to replace the natural rubber in most gum. So not only are you chewing on (potentially toxic) plastic, it's a substance that won't disappear once you bin it either.
  • Use matches. Disposable plastic lighters sit in landfills for years, and have also been found in the stomachs of birds . 
  • Pack your lunch the right way. If your lunchbox is packed full of disposable sandwich bags and containers, it's time to make a change. Eat things like fresh fruit which don't need unnecessary packaging, and keep sandwiches in reusable tubs or snack bags - we love these reusable wraps from ReWrap It! 

Cutting down on plastic doesn't need to be hard - it's all about making practical changes which will benefit you and our planet!

Do you have any tips or advice we could share? 


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