Some facts about plastic (courtesy of http://wrwcanada.com):
- Only 9% of the 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic, produced since the 1950s, has been recycled.
- Less than 11% of plastics are recycled in Canada (internationally the figure is 9%).
- Packaging accounts for 40% of the plastics produced.
- 8 million metric tonnes of plastic is added to the oceans every year.
Without question, plastics have many beneficial uses, many in the medical field. Unfortunately its use has become widespread to the extent that microplastics (<5 mm) are now found throughout the environment – land, air and water. There are more microplastics in bottled water than tap water. Microplastics in the oceans work their way up the food chain. City wastewater facilities cannot pull microplastics out from e.g. water used for laundering our synthetic clothing.
Plastic is touted as a lighter weight material, saving on transportation costs but much of the plastic is not recyclable or recycled. Goods once packaged in cardboard are now in plastic e.g. gum now comes in a blister pack rather than a cardboard box. Theft and product safety are some reasons given for the use of plastic in packaging. Single-use plastics, once a novelty, have become the norm.
What I’m doing for Plastic Free July:
Plastic Free July is a global movement to reduce our use of plastic. There are ways to do this when we shop and eat out. The photo above shows examples of my changes. The biggest difficulty is remembering to have the items with you! Don’t expect to make all of the changes at once. It’ll be easier to do it in baby steps as you find out what works best for you. While several of the items on the right do have a plastic component all are reusable and most have been bought at a thrift store (that’ll be reuse 2X!). I used a fine gauze to make the produce bags.
Here are useful 2 links:
- Plastic Footprint Calculator helps to get a picture of your plastic footprint.
- 10,000 Changes allows you to select and pledge changes to reduce your use of plastics. The latter is a program put together by Canadian Geographic, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Recycling Council of Ontario and was launched on June 27, 2019.