Every year we throw away millions of tonnes of plastic. And vast amounts of it finds its way into the ocean. As this plastic breaks down into tiny pieces it’s consumed by marine animals. So – Plastic is choking our oceans and killing marine life.
All this plastic waste means a cocktail of harmful chemicals is passed up the food chain and into our food and water supplies.
A two-pronged approach is urgently needed:
- Lobbying governments to phase out use of the bags as soon as possible, except in exceptional cases, and
- Persuading consumers that they should refuse to use the bags by taking their own when they go shopping.
Seven of the ten largest plastic producers are oil and natural gas companies, so as long as they are extracting fossil fuels, there will be a huge incentive to manufacture plastic.The fight against the use of fossil fuels and the switch to renewables should help counteract the rising production of plastics.
The majority of pollution originates in countries such as China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, though it was our own industrial revolution that triggered the developments that led to the current situation. But we can follow countries such as Belgium in putting in place mitigation measures and thereby become a role model.
How You can make a Difference
- In trying to reduce our reliance on single use plastic containers such as shampoo and shower gels – there are now increasing number of outlets and small enterprises locally which sell unwrapped non palm oil soap bars and shampoo bars in cardboard packaging. There are also local refill schemes – some of them are on the Ealing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Facebook group.
- Terracycle have partnered with many brands and opened up schemes for community drop off points to enable you to recycle packaging that are not collected by the council’s kerbside recycling schemes. This includes crisp and biscuit wrapping, cheese packaging and pet food pouches amongst others.
- Other single use plastics such as bread bags and magazine wraps can be taken to a larger supermarket store where there are plastic bag recycling points. In Ealing, these are in the Ealing Broadway Tesco and the big Morrison’s to name a few. There is also a cosmetic recycling point in the Superdrug in Ealing Broadway too!
- We could all reduce the amount of single use plastics being used when visiting the deli, fish or bakery counters at the supermarket by taking our own tupperware boxes or other multi-use containers or even paper bags or bread bags that can be reused.
In addition, we could avoid buying fruits such as bananas and oranges in plastic packaging or netting because they come with their own skins! Many supermarkets also have unwrapped options such as broccoli, carrots and mushrooms.
You just have to plan ahead and remember to take these things for recycling on your next shopping trip!
EFoE Member Mike on Plastics
Plastic waste in the environment, including the ocean, is choking the earth. Friends of the Earth is campaigning to ban single-use plastics to prevent the further proliferation of this harmful and extremely long-lasting pollution.