24th March 2018
In the time it takes you to read this article, at least a million plastic bottles will have been thrown away. Only 70,000 of those bottles will end up being recycled and the rest will take 450 years to biodegrade naturally.
So, why is this a problem? A recent study estimates that around 90% of marine seabirds are currently ingesting plastic. They are not the only form of marine life to be a victim of our plastic habit: one of the more shocking cases of recent times was a sperm whale found with a car engine cover in it’s stomach, amongst other debris.
It’s not just marine life that’s suffering,either. A recent investigation found plastic particles in bottled water and other research has shown that the plastic accumulating in our marine life can end up on our plates and in our bodies. A study by the American Chemical Society in 2010 found that plastics also decompose in the ocean to release BPA, a chemical the UK National Health Service have linked to hormone disruption in humans.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Big changes start with individual choices. As citizens and shoppers, we all have the power to make a difference. Here are 5 small and easy things you can do that will have a significant impact on your plastic footprint:
- Use your own bag
In 2011, Singapore used 3 billion plastic bags. For a population of around 5 million, that works out to 600 bags per person in a year, or around 2 per day. Opt for a re-useable bag instead – you may inspire others around you to follow suit!
- Purchase a re-useable plastic bottle
Enough said already about why bottles are bad. Invest in a re-useable bottle and you can look after yourself too by choosing BPA free. Win-win situation!
- Shop local
Visit your local market and not only will you save money and support our local economy, but you’ll also cut down on packaging. I found broccoli for 1 dollar in the local market, compared to 7 dollars in my nearest supermarket, and it wasn’t wrapped in plastic either! Don’t forget to bring your re-useable bag with you!
- Make more informed consumer choices
It’s not just the big stuff like bottles and bags. Microbeads in cosmetics have been recently banned in the UK after it was found that they account for a third of all ocean plastic waste. Check out Beat the Microbead for more information on how you can avoid them.
- Just say no to disposables!
Invest in your own portable cutlery to avoid using disposables, or choose non disposable options where you can. Even better – ask take-away outlets if they would stock biodegradable cutlery instead.
Do you have any top tips for reducing plastic waste? Feel free to send us a message with your ideas – we will share the top 10 on our facebook page!