Plastic pollution is a real problem we’re facing and the amount of waste we’re producing is devastating so many parts of our beautiful, natural world. Discarded single-use plastic is causing catastrophic damage to our oceans and wildlife, killing many beautiful species we associate with the magnificent underwater world. Species destruction doesn’t stop once above the surface, many land animals are suffering too because of our throwaway attitude to plastic. National Geographic did a talk on plastic waste last year an explained that nearly every species of sea bird on earth is eating plastic. Mothers are feeding their offspring minute pieces of plastic mistaking it for food and, unsurprisingly, those chicks aren’t surviving their first year of life. One study recorded the population of sea birds from 1950 to 2010 and numbers decreased by 67%. That’s over a 10% decline each decade.
Plastic pollution isn’t just destructing the earth’s wildlife, it’s also seeping its way into the food we eat. The Guardian reported that eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans each year. Fish subsequently consume microparticles of plastic and guess what? So are we when we consume fish. The University of Plymouth recently released results from a study conducted which revealed plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish such as cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish. We’re all for getting our omegas but this isn’t what we thought we were signing up for when consuming our recommended weekly serving of fish.
Head down any shopping aisle in your local supermarket and you’ll see food wrapped head to toe in plastic. Whether it’s pre-sliced vegetables or your favourite brand of hummus, the worrying thing is that plastic is leaching into the food we are consuming. Bottled water has definitely come under fire for leaching toxic chemicals from the plastic into our bodies and the same goes for disposable coffee cups. Did you know, a million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world? If we continue down the same path and don’t act on this, that figure is set to increase by 20% by 2021. Luckily, many people have made a conscious effort to buy filters for their homes and always carry reusable bottles/travel cups for drinking on the go. It’s a great start, for sure, but more supermarkets, brands and high street restaurant/coffee chains still have a long way to go to cut single-use plastic from their businesses and find alternatives that are safer for us and better for the planet.
To celebrate Plastic Free July, we’ve rounded up some of our eco-focused content, from the best places to shop sustainably to environmentally-friendly bathroom essentials.
13 Of The Best Zero-Waste Shops In The UK
The Sustainable Documentaries To Watch If You Haven’t Already
8 Swaps To Make For A More Eco-Conscious Bathroom
Sleep Chic: Our Favourite Sustainable Sleepwear Brands