WHY, WHY, WHY do businesses choose plastic when there are alternatives out there??? Well, we know why. Sadly.

On reflection, I will probably wish that I had written this blog post with a clearer head. But over the last few days, I have been reading ‘Turning the Tide on Plastic’ by Lucy Siegle, and watching documentaries such as Seaspiracy on Netflix (If you haven’t enjoyed either, I highly recommend).  As a result, I want to write about industries, manufacturing, the fishing industry, the ocean…. the list goes on. 

It is very clear to me that people and organisations at all levels need to come together as one to make any difference to the destruction happening in the oceans and across our planet.   One person alone is not the answer.

Some facts that have shocked me this weekend:

^A truck load of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans every minute of every day!

^Sustainable fishing has no definition, it’s pretty much open to your own interpretation.  So whatever it means to you, that’s what it means.

^Imagine a bottle of water ¼ filled with oil. That is how much oil is required to make that plastic bottle.  ONE MILLION EVERY DAY!

^46% of debris in the ocean is abandoned shipping equipment, whereas our banned plastic straws account for 0.03% (Bloomberg News June 2018).

^It is estimated that 40% of all fishing catch is deemed to be accidental – this could be whales, dolphins, seals, birds and unwanted fish species. Once accidentally killed, they are dumped back in the ocean.  Oooops (shakes head).

^8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s, and by 2015 9% had been recycled. The rest is still ‘out there’.

^Farmed salmon is grey and injected with the pink colour.

There is soooo much more – but you need to read/watch!

There has obviously been progress in the last few years and these little victories need to be celebrated, for not only the reduction in harmful plastics, but for also raising public awareness of the problem. We’ve seen…

A ban on some single use plastics such as cotton buds, drink stirrers and plastic straws (FYI plastic straws account for approx. 0.03% of ocean plastic reportedly);

A mandatory charge for plastic bags;

A ban on microbeads, which as a manufacturer of cosmetics, I must adhere to too;

Plus now,

A new tax for single use plastics will not apply to any plastic packaging which contains at least 30% recycled plastic, or any packaging which is not predominantly plastic by weight.

The industries using and selling plastics have aided our own addiction and reliance when it comes to all types of plastic.  I went shopping to a local supermarket today, I had an hour to do the family food shop and the shop knows (it feels) like I am in a rush and have no choice.  Do I want my bread to be wrapped in plastic film?  Do I want to pick up the broccoli wrapped in it too? Obviously not, but they have got me cornered. I know I need to change the way I shop. And I have a plan. But sadly, due to Coronavirus and the Easter Holidays, I was sucked into a black hole today. I’m so cross with myself.

I came home feeling a bit despondent! And it saddens me to admit this. There is definitely a movement, a consumer shift, along with a huge media attention on the plastic crisis. Yet, there seems only so much we can do. 

Actually, scrap that, I know there is more I can do.  I need to change my shopping habits, as a family too, look at our eating habits – and just say no!

So my next steps are:

  1. Plan time to make my own bread once or twice a week;
  2. Shop on a high street so that I can pick up items individually at a green grocers’ (which is a 40 minute round trip but worth it);
  3. I won’t eat fish again (I knew this anyway) and I will find more alternatives for the children too.
  4. Before buying something new, I will attempt to buy or source it pre-loved first. This is my biggest aim for 2021.
  5. I will keep a separate bag for plastic films and take it to Tesco or another collection point for recycling.

If you think of more, please leave a comment. As you know, I’m always on the look out for tips to use and share.

I can’t write a blog post without reference to the squids, who are as equally passionate about not putting rubbish in the ‘normal’ bin as I am.  They have been engrossed in a natural disasters topic in school which made reference to the Mariana Trench, the depths of the ocean and underwater volcanoes. Amazing right. How lucky to learn about this at the age of 7?  But imagine their shock and disappointment to find that even this awe-inspiring location has fallen victim to plastic pollution.  So, for us, this is at least a weekly dinner time conversation. 

Whether you are a business eliminating your plastic use, a family doing a litter pick, or one of the band of beach cleaners – we can fight this addiction.

And finally, I want to mention the book again that I’m reading by Lucy Siegle.  In it, she mentions her Grandad, who in the 80s, would take the plastic packaging of his shopping and leave it at the checkout. Very inspiring. But it shows that our awareness isn’t new, but our momentum has been too slow.

*I hope that made sense and wasn’t too waffly (new word – waffly)!