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Earth Day – Reducing Plastic Waste

In honour of Earth Day and this year’s theme ‘Planet vs Plastics’, we wanted to share some knowledge and raise awareness about the effects plastics have on our environment especially when they are not disposed of correctly. To help, we have also compiled a few tips on how you and your business can reduce your plastic usage and waste.

We believe it is important to remember that although today is Earth Day, being aware of our impact on climate change and talking about how we can make more sustainable choices should be an everyday conversation.

Earth Day was established on the 22nd of April 1970. Noticing an apathetic attitude towards climate issues, Senator Gaylord Nelson and activist Denis Hayes created Earth Day to mobilise the younger generation into fighting for the Earth. It has since become a global event and even influenced the passing of the Paris Agreement (which was signed on Earth Day in 2016).

In the UK alone, we throw away “2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year, and less than one per cent of those are recycled”. This means these cups are left to degrade in soil or enter our water ways. It’s well documented that the build-up of waste proves harmful to animal life, many of whom mistake plastic for food.

Sites where there is such a build-up of plastic waste also causes further issues that are not as widespread. When single use plastics are not recycled, the plastics breakdown into macro and micro plastics. Micro plastics prove harder to capture and remove than larger macro pieces, making it easier for them to be ingested by animals and easier to enter our drinking water, “Microplastic pollution has been detected in human blood…with scientists finding the tiny particles in almost 80% of the people tested”. 

We currently have no evidence of the long term impacts these plastics will have on the human body, but with so much plastic still being produced on a daily basis, the significance of properly disposing of our plastic waste has never been so important.

However, it is not just the micro plastics we should be concerned about. Around the world there are 5 areas known as floating garbage patches, the most well-known being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Formed as a direct result of large plastic waste being dumped into our oceans and collecting in gyres, the GPGP now covers “an estimated surface of 1.6 million square kilometres”.

Worryingly, it is projected that there are “more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch that weighs an estimated 100,000 tonnes”. Due to the high volume of waste, the area it covers, and the size and shape of the GPGP is constantly moving and changing, making it even more difficult to clean up.

As you’d expect, surrounding marine wildlife is constantly getting caught up in the patch or mistakenly consuming it, “Marine plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide, including 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species.”

So, what can we do to help? Here are a few of our tips to help you reduce your plastic usage or dispose of the plastic you use correctly:

·       We know you’ve probably heard this one before, but using a reusable water bottle will not only help you stay hydrated but can also help you save money. Eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles, notorious contributors of plastic waste build-up, you can make a positive impact on the environment while cutting down on expenses.

·       Switching to a plumbed in water cooler will also help your business to be more sustainable. Similar to the previous point, bottled water coolers rely on constant deliveries of bottled water. Whereas, plumbed in coolers connect to your mains water supply, eliminating the need for deliveries and the subsequent plastic bottles.

·       If you currently use plastic items such as cups and various cutlery items, make sure they are biodegradable. As suppliers ourselves, we ensure that we only offer sustainable products for our customers. To further help our customers with sustainable practices, we have created a handy leaflet on different disposable cups and how best to recycle them.

Cup Recycling Brochure
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