Plastic: it’s a big problem for Australia. This once innocuous material that is very much ingrained in our daily lives is damaging our seas and putting ocean wildlife as risk. What’s more, with plastics taking one hundred years to break down within the ocean, it’s causing issues we seemingly can’t recover for generations to come (Cmore 2008).
Yet here there are many ways in how we can, together, work towards reducing the negative affects of our daily use of plastics; and we explain why the steps towards this may well be far simpler than you imagined.
The scale of Australia’s problem with plastic.
To understand the scale of the problem you only need to take a look at the following four stats to see how this is becoming an important issue for Australians.
“Australians produce 582.9 million litres of bottled water a year.” – Ocean Crusaders
“Seven billion drink containers end up as waste in landfill, littering our beaches and streets, or in our oceans.” – Green Peace
“100 Marine species are known to be affected by plastic pollution in our oceans around the globe.” – Environmental Protection Agency
“99% of the world’s seabirds will be ingesting plastic by 2050.” – CSIRO
The current efforts towards better oceans.
Whilst South Australia’s Container Deposit legislation has bolstered plastic bottle recycling to an impressive 74% (Eunomia), there is still much to be done if we’re to reduce our footprint upon the seafloor; and it seems that there are many eco organisations already taking up this challenge:
The Ocean Clean Up proudly boasts the slogan of “The largest clean-up in history”, which is a well-earned title. They’ve already raised $2.2 million from 38,000 contributors spanning 160 countries for a meticulously planned clean-up that kicks off in 2020.
Clean up Day Australia has achieved incredible things over the course of its 22 year history, clearing 302,213 tonnes of rubbish from 151,909 sites across Australia. Today, this organisation spans 30 million volunteers across 80 countries.
If you’re interested in getting involved the next Clean Up Day Australia is Sunday 6th March 2016.
Clean Up Australia has now extended its mission to get businesses in on the action that’s helping clear plastic from our country. This year Tuesday 1st of March will aim to improve on the 250 businesses that last took to their local areas as of 2015.
Schools can also get involved, with the next business clean up day set for Friday the 4th of March 2016.
Together we can make a big difference.
Reducing plastic waste may seem like too much a task for one person. However, if we all work together even small changes can make a big difference; and this extends to everyone us within our daily lives.
Related Post: Could You Live Plastic-Free?
These straight forward steps are all that it takes to reduce how much plastic you use and make Australia and our oceans better for the environment.
1. Cut the plastic out of your personal life
Our daily routines include a lot of plastic. In fact, so much so that you might not even realise how often we use it. You can be more eco-friendly, with the following simple tips:
– Take your own bag when shopping (and for the many of us who routinely forget our bag for life a pro tip is to keep a collection of bags within the car, by the front door and within our hand bags and man bags).
– Choose reusable items when you can: from food that’s in eco-friendly packaging, to going vintage with furniture that’s been recycled.
– Use water dispensers at home to access filtered, pure and beautiful tasting water straight from your tap.
2. Cut the plastic out of your work life
– Purchase reusable drinking containers which you can use throughout the day
– Use water dispensers at work and contribute to overcoming the 13 to 14 billion drinks containers a year that we consume (Greenpeace).
3. Invest some time in clean-up days
Clean-Up days make a big positive environmental impact over the course of just a few hours. Best of all you can attend with friends, or make it a business day out, for a clean-up that barely feels like an effort, let alone hard work.
Related Post: 20 Steps to Plastic-Free Living
Clearer waters and cleaner oceans for the future
It’s clear that plastic is a harming our Oceans and the wildlife that they contain. However if we work together, some straight forward steps can be undertaken by anyone to make our oceans and our environment cleaner.
How businesses can help
Central to all of our efforts are the businesses within our society that are increasingly eco-conscious – these corporations can be key to significantly cutting down the cost that plastic is charging our planet. Something as simple as companies switching to water coolers can be all that is needed to take the plunge for oceans that become all the more clearer over the years to come, and for the generations that are yet to arrive.
So we want to know: How are you reducing plastic in your life? Share your tips in the comment section to inspire others to reduce plastic pollution.
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