Unless you've been living under a rock, you may have noticed the world is waking up to the plastic crisis. It's been dubbed the 'Blue Planet Effect' and if you've seen the recent Blue Planet Series 2, particularly the last episode, you can see why.
The Great Pacific Garbage patch was 'discovered' 30 years ago, a floating island of plastic that is now larger than the size of Texas floats in the Pacific. Yes, you read that correctly - 30 years!
'Great Pacific Garbage Patch'
There's a country-sized heap of plastic floating on the Pacific ocean ... it's way bigger than we once thought.Posted by AJ+ on Monday, 26 March 2018
But it seems like the tide of inertia is turning when it comes to plastics. Nations have come forward with pledges to phase out plastic in the last 12 months, many companies are making meaningful changes and the consumer is getting more vocal on the issue too.
From big business
- UK Supermarket chain Iceland announced they'll be plastic free by 2023
- McDonald's announced that its 36,000 locations will have recycling initiatives by 2025 and "pledges that all packaging on customer products will come from "renewable, recycled or certified sources" by that same year."
- Australian chains, Coles and Woolworths are pre-empting the plastic bag ban coming into force in Queensland and Western Australia later this year. There have been bans in other Australian states since 2009.
- World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket.
From our Institutions
- Even the Queen bans single use plastic on Royal Estates in the UK
- The EU announced that by 2030 "every piece of packaging on the continent is reusable or recyclable"
- Just last month the UN launched a major global #CleanSeas campaign to end marine litter
"Perhaps, in years to come, society will look back on 2018 as the year we started to get to grips with plastic pollution", writes Lucy Purdy, editor of Positive News.
What can you do?
You can start by estimating how much plastic you consume by completing the Plastic Calculator. From there you can create your Personal Plastic Planner
Join the 2 minute beach clean. This initiative has been growing in popularity in recent months, they are "a growing family of beach lovers rolling up our sleeves to help rid the world’s beaches of marine litter and plastic pollution, two minutes at a time." Since 2014 concerned but time-short citizens take 2 minutes when they are at their local beach and clear litter in their vicinity - using the hashtag #2minutebeachclean to record and share their efforts.
Or perhaps you're more of a 'plogger'
Plogging is a new fitness trend out of Sweden that's good for you and the environment.Posted by Green Matters on Friday, 23 February 2018
Citizens in Ireland and the UK are taking part in flashmob style "plastic attacks" at their local supermarket to protest unnecessary packaging
Don't like plastic in the supermarkets? Why not bin the lot! ♻️🗑Posted by BBC Radio Bristol on Monday, 26 March 2018
An Australian initiative ResonsibleCafes.org lists all those cafes giving discounts to those who bring their reusable cups (although given this recent tidal change hopefully this concept will shift to the mainstream). Check out their listings and support your local green cafes.
Go Zero WasteIf you're well on your way to avoid using unnecessary plastic in your life, consider finding out more about the Zero Waste movement and take your activism to the next level.
Whatever you do use #EarthDay2018 #EndPlasticPollution #lessplastic #plasticless to share your stories on social media this Earth Day.