When we throw away rubbish we assume it’s destined for landfill. Once it leaves our bin our waste is often out of sight and out of mind. It has simply gone ‘away’, and yet there is no magical place called ‘away’ - it all goes somewhere and it’s often not where we expect.
Eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. Littered, dumped or blown in from nearby landfill sites, plastic washes down waterways, eventually finding its way into the sea.
Scientists have warned that, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean .
Even though the majority of plastic we use is designed for single use, plastic itself is designed to last for ever. That means every bit of plastic that’s ever been made still exists today. Scary isn’t it? plastic never ever biodegrades, instead it breaks down into smaller and smaller parts, leaching harmful chemicals into the ocean and becoming a serious hazard to marine life.
As 21st century consumers, we are all responsible and we all have our part to play in reducing plastic waste.
3 simple ways to reduce your plastic use:
1. Say no to take-away coffee cups and commit to bringing your own reusable cup.
Each year, over 4 billion coffee cups head to landfill because the plastic lining means they cannot be recycled. Australians alone consume an astonishing 50,000 coffees every 30 minutes. In fact disposable coffee cups are the second largest contributor to litter in Australia, surpassed only by plastic bottles.
2. Don’t buy bottled water. Invest in a reusable drink bottle you can wash and refill.
When you throw away a plastic bottle you are also throwing away the resources that went into producing the bottle. It takes three times more water to produce a plastic water bottle than it does to fill one and the amount of oil used to make a year's worth of bottles could fill one million cars for a year. Unfortunately only one in five plastic bottles are recycled.
3. Refuse plastic straws. Request that your favourite bars and restaurants ban straws or use reusable or biodegradable ones.
Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used once and then disposed of in the United States every day.
Global Citizen have partnered with the talented and passionate team behind Blue, a feature length documentary film, revealing the decline in the health of our oceans and the impact this has on marine life. Blue follows the journey of several Ocean Guardians who continue to campaign tirelessly to protect our oceans.
You too can become an Ocean Guardian.
Take action today and commit to becoming someone who cares about the future of our ocean and its wildlife. Start today, by pledging to ditch disposable plastic and invest in reusable products.