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Plastic isn’t always fantastic…. especially when you’re part of our Blue Planet

Jan 15, 2018

Plastic may have changed our lives irrevocably since its invention in 1862 1 but despite its often lifesaving and life changing uses, it is also having a catastrophic effect on our planet and its nature, particularly marine life. How has this happened and what can we do to reverse this disastrous impact?

Did you know…
• More than 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year
• Over 90% of all sea birds have plastic pieces in their stomachs
• 1 in 3 species of marine animals have been found entangled in marine litter

Every year the problem of plastic pollution grows: 300million tonnes is produced annually 2, globally and an amazing 50% of this is designed for single use only, after which it is designated waste! Think plastic straws, plastic cutlery, your plastic coffee cup lid/ stirrer… the list goes on. An incredible and horrendous 8 million tonnes of this plastic ends up in our oceans – every year 3!

Three of our major oceans actually have floating garbage patches, the first of which was spotted in the North Atlantic 4 as long ago as 1972 and is currently estimated to be hundreds of kilometres in size with a density of 200,000 pieces of rubbish per km² in some places!!

The northern Pacific Ocean 4 also has a collection of marine debris (mainly plastic and chemical sludge) forming a patch estimated to range from between 270,000 miles 2 to an unimaginable 5.8 million miles 2. That’s approximately 72 times the size of Great Britain 5

Finally, the world’s third major collection of floating garbage was discovered in the Indian Ocean in 2010 and covers about 3.86 million miles 2.

What can we, as active consumers of this devastating product, do to reduce its impact and improve the plight of the marine environment and its beautiful inhabitants?

There are many small things we can do to start to reduce plastic’s negative impact on our Blue Planet:

If you’re in the food business, you could;
• Stop using plastic straws and plastic cutlery. Across the planet, over 500,000,000 straws are produced and used every day 6! We need to think about how we eat – it’s just as important as what we eat…

If you’re a retailer, you could;
• Stop giving out plastic bags. Across the planet over a billion single use plastic bags are given out for free every day 7. You can easily brand paper bags which can easily be recycled or why not give away cotton bags for life – a walking brand endorsement!

If you’re in an office, you could;
• Stop using plastic and ‘paper’ beverage cups. The UK alone throws away 2.5bn of them a year or if you prefer 10,000 in just two minutes 8! There are many compostable and biodegradable alternatives including bioplastics derived from cornstarch, sugar cane and other renewable biomass resources.

If you’d like to find out more ways you could cut back on your waste and help keep our blue planet green, speak to one of the team at Alpha Logic. We can help you help your business.

Appendix
1. The first human-made plastic was invented by Alexander Parkes in 1862
2. https://www.plasticoceans.org
3. https://www.plasticoceans.org
4. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/world-oceans-day-2014-worlds-most-polluted-seas-revealed-1451638
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain
6. www.onegreenplanet.org/…/plastic-straws-and-the-environment
7. http://www.greenhome.com/blog/the-impact-of-plastic-bags-on-the-environment/
8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36882799