The problem with plastic
Written by Jake McKeon (Founder of Coconut Bowls)
Plastic is everywhere, and for a long time we’ve been conditioned into thinking it’s OK. It’s not. Plastic waste is one of the largest challenges facing our environment, and there are some statistics we should all remain aware of:
- Every piece of plastic created still exists today in some way, shape or form. It’s not biodegradable.
As plastic is not biodegradable, it ends up in our oceans. This occurs at a scale of 8 million metric tons per year. To put this into perspective, that’s more than 1kg of plastic waste per year, per person in the world. It mightn’t sound like much, but here’s what 1kg of waste looks like:
3,300 plastic straws
350 plastic bags
55 plastic bottles
78 coffee cups and lid
- By 2050, as a result, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish
- To make matters worse, 91% of plastic is not recycled.
I’m confident none of us would throw plastic into the ocean, especially not in our community. The reality, however, is that this is what eventually happens when we put plastic in the bin. I encourage you to keep this in mind, as I do when consuming plastics.
We’re often unaware of the waste we contribute and, unfortunately, single-use plastics will not disappear overnight. The responsibility, therefore, is ours, to remain conscious of the plastics we use and change our habits. We cannot rely on business or government, change starts with us. The moment I became aware of my contribution to plastic waste was the moment I realised convenience was not a valid excuse. My behaviour needed to change.
Initiating change of any kind is challenging, I know, but you will come to realise the benefit (and fun!) of doing this. For me, the journey is ongoing and highly rewarding. It’s an incredible feeling being part of something bigger than ourselves, and one that will leave you, your friends and family proud of your contribution.
Here are 10 everyday actions you can introduce over time to make an incredible difference.
- Carry a reusable canvas bag. Let’s make plastic bags a thing of the past!
- Carry a reusable drink bottle. Stay hydrated and save money on single serve drinks. Healthier for you, and your pocket.
- Avoid plastic straws. Drink from the glass or carry a reusable bamboo straw. We’re encouraging our community to #sucksustainably for plastic-free July. Take the pledge with us here.
- Strike up a conversation and enjoy your $4 coffee in the cafe. For times when you’re in a hurry, provide your friendly barista with a reusable coffee cup.
- Buy fresh produce loose, not pre-packaged. Mesh and canvas bags are terrific for this.
- Limit takeout and supply reusable containers when you do order out.
- Cook your own meals instead of buying premade. Your health will also thank you for it, bonus!
- Collect 3 pieces of plastic you pass in the street.
- Start a conversation with friends about reducing their contribution. Start with the big 4 - we’re looking at you plastic bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups.
Thank you so much for reading. If you’ve found value in this post, please share with your friends and family - individually we can make a difference, together we can change the world.