Plastic is everywhere. It’s in our food packaging, in our shopping bags, in our furniture. Worldwide, plastic manufacturers produce more than 500 million tonnes of the stuff each year—and that number is growing.
In 2020, our population generated approximately 900% more plastic than it did in 1980. Scarily, in 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Of the 500 million tonnes of plastic we produce annually, 9 million will enter our oceans.
The big problem with plastic is that it doesn’t decompose. Ever.
It just gets smaller.
A single plastic bottle, over time, can disintegrate into more than 10,000 pieces of microplastic.
But it’s not the end of the world yet.
We—individually—have the power to incite change. Making simple lifestyle changes to reduce our plastic use can have momentous benefits for our world and our oceans.
1. Avoid single-use consumer plastics, such as drinking straws.
Many companies around the world are making waves for sustainability by eliminating plastic straws and cutlery from their cafes, restaurants, and retail stores.
Where paper cutlery or straws aren’t available, consider bringing reusable alternatives with you when you go out to eat. For example, metal straws are now readily available in stores around Australia and are easy enough to pack in your bag when you’re heading out for a quick brunch date!
2. Recycle your soft plastics.
Unlike hard plastics, you can’t place soft plastics into your regular recycling bin. Thankfully, they can be still be recycled via specialised drop-off points and centres around Australia.
Soft plastics you can recycle include shopping bags, consumer packaging, box liners, biscuit wrappers, and frozen food bags. Keep a separate bin in your home, office, and car specifically for soft plastic waste, and drop off the contents to a specialised recycling point whenever your bin fills up.
Wherever there’s food, there’s plastic. Almost all items you purchase from the supermarket will be packaged in the infamous material.
While plastic is unavoidable, you don’t have to be wasteful. Where possible, purchase loose produce and store in a fruit bowl or glass container rather than plastic bags. You can also store cereals, dried pasta, and other pantry favourites in airtight glass containers.
It starts with you.
Making the conscious choice to live simply and sustainably can meaningfully impact our future.
You have the power to impel change!