Reducing Plastic Pollution – We Have the Power

Recently, a group of international scientists undertook a global study to collect and catalog litter in and around rivers, oceans, shoreline’s and on the seafloor.

More than 12 million pieces of litter were collected, and it was found that 8 out of 10 items were made of plastic. Of this plastic, 44% was litter relating to single-use bottles, food containers, wrappers, and plastic bags.

"On average, 80% of the litter items are made of plastic"

- Study Published in Nature Sustainability

So now, we know that a huge amount of plastic in the ocean was purchased by one of us and used for a very short time before being discarded as waste.

It is easy to say, “well it was not me, so it’s not my problem”. But the truth is that we all use plastic every day and it will all end up as trash.

This great photo by Dzirry says it all
The crazy thing is that we all have the power to do something about it, every day. It is just the little things.

Like many people, I have been using plastic all my life without any real thought. As I have become more aware of the plastic pollution problem, I am much more aware of the plastic that I use and touch each day. In particular, I am trying to reduce the plastic in my life that I will use just once. I fail often, but keep at it.

Obviously, we can’t just stop using plastic and our actions alone will not solve the growing problem that plastic has become. Life around us is simply full of plastic. It is amazing to think that just 50 years ago plastic was hardly ever seen by anyone.

I was recently standing in the aisle at our local supermarket to see how many products that I could see, not packaged in some form of plastic. The answer – very few and in some aisles none. Amazingly about half of the fresh vegetables were wrapped up in some form of plastic, why do we need plastic wrap on veggies?

I thought about unpacking the plastic from my veggies at the supermarket and leaving it for them to deal with. Imagine if we all did that, they would soon stop wrapping everything in plastic. One thing is for sure, if we keep buying products wrapped in plastic our supermarkets will keep selling them that way.

Anyhow, I did a bit of research and found I was not alone in this thought. See the link below on how a plastic action group could work towards change. What fun this could be.

If we all start considering the plastic content of everything we buy (and what alternatives exist) the amount of plastic ending up as trash could reduce significantly.

Just the little things that are within our power, will start to add up to a larger change in our plastic consumption and depending on how brave we are, change the practices of our supermarkets for the better.

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Adrian is a co-founder of loop2cycle. Following a successful career building and managing numerous businesses in the past, he is now dedicated to the reduction of plastic waste and improving the environment in remote communities.

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