When it comes to climate change, how well informed are you? Is your knowledge level that of a novice who is eager to learn, or are you so well-versed you could compete with David Attenborough? One thing’s for sure, no matter what level of knowledge you have, you do know that plastic is extremely harmful to the environment and that we need to be making a change in our everyday habits, and today we’re going to look at how plastic harms the ecosystem.
The Effect of Plastic Pollution on the Environment
You should be aware of some of the negative consequences of plastics on the environment by now, but let's focus on plastic pollution in particular.
Toxic pollutants released by plastic waste affect humans, animals, and plants. Plastic takes hundreds, if not thousands, of years to degrade, therefore the environmental impact is long-lasting.
It has an impact on all organisms in the food chain, from microscopic species such as plankton to large mammals such as whales. When plastic enters the food chain, toxins make their way up to humans and can be found in the fish they consume.
How can we Reduce Plastic Packaging?
Most consumers have noticed the unnecessary misuse of plastic in packaging over the last ten years. Only 14% of plastic packaging used globally makes its way to recycling operations, and only 9% is actually recycled, posing a significant environmental challenge. A third is then dumped in landfills, while 40% is left in sensitive ecosystems. We've already highlighted the benefits of reusing plastics, but there are a few more things you can do to cut down on plastic packaging:
- To reduce food waste and packaging, cook from scratch.
- Cover your food with beeswax wraps instead of plastic bags.
- Try exploring scoop shops or buy from greengrocers and delicatessens to reduce unnecessary packaging.
- Use food bowl covers rather than cling film.
- Avoid tea bags and get loose leaves.
- Make your own lunch for work or consume leftovers from the night before.
- The BBC Good Food website has more suggestions for decreasing plastic packaging.
How Plastic Cups Harm the Environment
Coffee cups are a major source of plastic pollution because they include a polyethylene-based plastic paste that keeps your coffee warm while also preventing it from being recycled.
Every year, 16 billion paper cups are used, resulting in the logging of 6.5 million trees, the waste of 4 billion gallons of water, and the loss of enough energy to power 54,000 households for a year.
Instead of using plastic or paper cups, you can reduce pollution by purchasing reusable cups. Supermarkets and cafés are starting to use this reuse and refill strategy all over the UK.
Should you Recycle or Reuse Plastics?
Plastic should be avoided whenever possible, and recycled only as a last option. You can avoid having to recycle by choosing reusable alternatives.
Since the introduction of supermarket levies, there has been progress in reducing plastic usage. You can use one of our fabulous and fully recyclable alternatives if you want to reduce your plastic consumption.