Every single minute, an entire truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean. That's about 8 million metric tonnes every year.
Just one plastic litre bottle bobbing around the ocean will (eventually) decompose into pieces so small that its remnants will be found every mile of beach throughout the world.
So think about how much of that is being consumed by marine life and making its way into our food chains. Most of the fish we eat including trout, cod and perch have at one time ingested plastic microfibers. And if that wasn’t enough, plastic particles are now being found in the tap water we drink.
Perhaps this could explain why 93% of Americans tested positive for BPA (a plastic particle).
If you’ve ever paid attention to just how much plastic one person can generate in a day, you’ll understand just how difficult it can be to reduce your plastic waste. Despite your most concerted efforts, you’ll not escape the sad fact that our consumerist economy is entirely built on a sea of plastic (literally).
Everything we eat, use, wash with - plastic is at our fingertips pretty much all day. Collective action is needed on a wider scale if we are to start making an impact.
Businesses have an onus to start addressing plastic pollution within the workplace as it will result in significantly greater reductions in plastic waste. People are likely to adopt habits that will overlap into their home life and undoubtedly, encourage those around them to start acting in a more sustainable manner too.
This article details some tips that will help your business begin reducing plastic waste, but here are few extra from me:
- Switch to bars of soap rather than disposable plastic bottles of handwash
- Try out shampoo bars to reduce the number of plastic bottles having clean hair costs
- Invest in reusable water bottles, bags and coffee cups - I love my Chilly's water bottle which keeps my water cool and coffee warm!
- Encourage employees to bring their own lunch to work in a reusable container, rather than buying a ready-made lunch that comes with a nice side portion of plastic! Employers should be sure to provide staff with the appropriate facilities such as cutlery, a dishwasher and a fridge.
- Avoid single-use plastic at every opportunity. Straws, plastic cutlery etc...
On a national scale, some larger businesses are already showing accountability:
- Some UK supermarkets now allow customers to take in their own containers to the meat counter to eliminate plastic wrapped meat.
- Water fountains at Heathrow airport
- Waitrose is phasing out single-use coffee cups, urging customers to bring their own reusable coffee mugs (which are also available in-store at a reasonable price).
- Morrisons are introducing the naked cucumber which will see them eradicate the plastic film on cucumbers.
- Starbucks have eliminated single-use plastic straws entirely
If you can just adopt one of the tips off this list you'll be making a difference. Simply refusing to buy bottled water could amount to a significant reduction in plastic ending up in the ocean. Tweet @EquinetMedia if you have any more tips or suggestions!
Businesses of all sizes are well-placed to make a HUGE difference when it comes to tackling the ocean plastic crisis. In the past year, the number of people in the UK who personally believe they can make a difference to the planet has risen from 36% to 95%.* Whilst individual efforts to use less plastic add up over time, cutting plastic usage at a business-level results in significantly greater reductions in plastic waste and far-reaching consequences – creating a ripple effect of positive change among colleagues, customers, suppliers, competitors, industry and the wider community.