Plastic waste or plastic pollution is an accumulation of plastic objects (e.g. plastic bottles, disposable food containers etc) in the Earth’s environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat and humans.
It also refers to the significant amount of plastic that isn’t recycled and ends up in landfill sites.
Plastic can take from 20 to 500 years to decompose depending on the material and structure. Additionally, how fast a plastic breaks down depends on sunlight exposure. Like our skin, plastics absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, which breaks down the molecules.
In the UK alone, over 5 million tonnes of plastic is consumed each year yet only ¼ of it is recycled!
The remaining ¾ is what enters our environment, polluting our waterways and damaging our ecosystem.
It is estimated that UK households throw away a staggering 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging each year- Averaging 66 items per household per week!
It is crucial that we reduce our plastic consumption and raise awareness about plastic recycling if we are to overcome the plastic pollution problem that we have to help save our planet
How can I reduce the amount of plastic that I consume?
- Recycle what you can and avoid single use plastic items such as water bottles, straws, cutlery etc.
- Ensure not to contaminate your mixed recycling with food waste or other substances such as oils/liquids – as a rule everything that you recycle should be clean and dry.
- Use reusable shopping bags such as canvas tote bags.
- Switch to alternative packaging such as paper, cardboard, glass, or metal.
If we all do our little bit to help it will make a massive difference.
- Only 9% of all plastic produced is recycled.
- A whopping 2 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide.
- Every minute of the day a truck load of plastic is dumped in the ocean.
- 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
You can find more information on plastic waste/pollution and recycling using the links below: