How plastic pollution is affecting our oceans

Single use plastic has been the go-to material for many things in recent years. We’re a society that craves ease of use, simplicity, and low-cost products. But years of this type of consumption has had a negative impact on our environment and the creatures and plants we share it with.

Every minute, one million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide. More often than not, they’re used once and then thrown away. This type of single-use plastic isn’t biodegradable. That means it has to be disposed of in some way. Between the 1970s and 1990s, plastic production and therefore waste generation, more than tripled. It was at a higher level in the early 2000s than it was for the whole of the previous 40 years.

Those figures are terrifying. Particularly when they’re looked at in relation to how the waste they create is disposed of. It can take over 500 years for plastic to degrade, therefore it is usually disposed of in some way. Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are shipped to destinations where it is then burned or dumped. About 79% of all plastic waste ends up in landfills or the ocean with only 9% being recycled.

Of the waste that ends up in our oceans, a lot of it is transported there by the rivers that feed them. It’s estimated that almost 80% of the plastic emissions into the oceans, come from around 1000 rivers.

Plastic pollution in our Oceans

Plastic waste gradually breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces which are ingested by humans and animals. But it’s in our oceans where this has the biggest impact. 100 million marine animals die each year as a result of plastic waste. Around 100,000 die as a result of getting tangled in larger pieces.

Plastic pollution
Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash

It’s estimated there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste in our oceans. Some of those pieces float but the vast majority are found beneath the surface. Marine creatures mistake these small pieces for food and so eat them. But because they are ingestible, they are responsible for so many sea creatures dying.

So, finding ways to stop using using-use plastic items such as drinks bottles, bags and wipes, has to be a priority for everyone. Most of us now take our own bags to the supermarket which we reuse time and time again. Similarly, many of us use a refillable cup or bottle which cuts down on the volume going to landfill.

With a bit of preparation and thought, it can be just as easy to replace things like single-use wipes. These often contain plastic and create a large proportion of the waste in landfills. It’s estimated that we bin around 11 billion wet wipes every year. That’s a lot of wipes.

Reusable wipes

Switching to reusable wipes has a massive impact on the amount of waste households create, particularly those with small children. Fabric wipes are easy to use, washable and cheaper to buy in the long run.

The majority of our range of reusable wipes are made from pieces of fabric that would otherwise end up in landfill. We use cut-offs, end of line remnants, and odd pieces we’ve found in our stash of fabrics collected over the years.

You can buy them to compliment your colour scheme (something you definitely can’t do with single-use wipes!). And we’ve started creating some Christmas ones too. Click here to see our full range and take the first steps to help reduce the amount of plastic waste our households create.

Plastic waste
Christmas reusable fabric wipes

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