Ways to stop ML and MP in seas and oceans, actions

Plastic is one of the most common materials currently used by man. Industrial production, which began in the 50s of the last century, in 2015 exceeded 320 million tonnes [1]. With a production increasing 8.8% a year and still low levels of recycling (7.5 million tons in Europe) [2], the problem with the storage and improper solid waste management in the world is very serious. Excessive production and uncontrolled penetration of synthetic polymers into seas and oceans has a negative impact on the ecosystem and fisheries. Moreover, it can cause disease and lead to death of plants and animals, reducing the attractiveness of tourist areas and affecting human health.

The invention of plastics influenced development in many areas of human activity. The most important are: medicine, electronics, automotive, construction and agriculture. It is hard to imagine medical products without implants, drains, syringes, contact lenses, surgical threads. Electronics without connectors and conductors, electrical outlets, housing equipment (monitors, vacuum cleaners) and construction without pipes, gutters, PVC panels and protective helmets. These examples demonstrate the useful use of synthetic polymers. Unfortunately, cheap production, simple exploitation and numerous processing options have contributed to the overproduction and huge waste of this material.

Every year, 8 million tons of plastic litter goes to the seas and oceans [3]. It is like throwing to water twelve 120l bags of rubbish every second or 10 cars per minute. If the current trend continues, by 2050 one tonne of fish will be equal to the same number of synthetic polymers. Now, this ratio is 3 to 1 [4].

The impact of trash on our planet is unquestionable, that is why the action of a single person - your actions - become so important.

I present you 40 ways to life without plastic. Thanks to these principles and ideas you will  take better care of the environment in which you live and you will improve the quality of life for future generations.

 

40 WAYS HOW TO BE PLASTIC FREE

 

1.      Use a reusable shopping bag. Take care of your purse too

The choice is great, both in terms of colours, shapes and finishes. You can adjust the length of the strap or handle, choose the size and additional items such as extra pockets or fasteners. However, the most important is the material, which should be cotton, jute or linen. You can also find the term "denim bags" which are cotton or linen fabric with a thick, twill weave. Unique bags are made of bark of cork wood or vegan leather or paper. Not only will a bag that is 100% biodegradable serve you for years, but also it will serve the environment. When choosing this product, you should also pay attention to "100% recyclable bags". Some of them are very imaginative (fig.1).

 


Fig.1 Bag made of coffee bag (1, decobazaar.com) and made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles (2, mattandnat.com)/Credit licence

 

2. Say NO to plastic bag!

Check the current number of foil bags produced worldwide  this year: theworldcounts

Foil bags are and will be a deadly threat to marine creatures for the next 10-20 years, for the reason that so much time must pass before they degrade in the marine environment [5]. Most of them serve only once to transfer products from the grocery store to the home, i.e. about 12 minutes [6]. In order to provide such "luxury" to every man, 4-5 billion plastic bags are produced each year [7].
There is also another quite controversial aspect of plastic bags production. During the process animal fats is added in order to reduce the surface friction of the materials [8].
Replace plastic for environmentally friendly material or paper!

 

Fig.2 Material and paper bags of various sizes (Paulina Kιran)

 

3. Replace the food from plastic packaging to "bulk food"

If you want to know more about Zero Waste check: zerowasteeurope

Consult map of shops selling without packaging in Poland on: mapa.oddamodpady

Markets, grocery stores or hypermarkets offer great selection of local bulk food. Shopping at these locations allows you to check the freshness of your products and control the amount of your purchases, thereby, reducing the amount of food waste. Quite popular in recent years are shops which function in accordance with the principle of Zero Waste. You can do shopping there with your own reusable packaging. In 2007 such store was established in London, whereas in Poland unpackaged goods can be bought since 2015.


According to data from 2012, in the European Union food waste amounted to 88 million tons, which is an equivalent to 173 kg per person, per year! [9]

 

4. Order without packaging!

How much unnecessary plastic goes together with the items we ordered, although most of them we do not need ? Do plush toys, clothing, metal or paper items need to be packed in plastic and bubble wrap? Everyone wants to make sure that the product will be delivered intact, but in most cases plastic packaging only serves to increase customer satisfaction or increase shipment volume (fig.3). When you make an order add the comment: "Economical packaging, please" or "please pack in paper". This should do the job.