Plastic pollution facts - Shorebox

9 Plastic Pollution Facts To Make You Feel Positive

There’s no way around it, plastic is having a devastating impact on the environment. At least 8 million tonnes of it enters the ocean each year, where it endangers marine life. Up until recently, most of us had little or no awareness of the problem. But things are changing.

Thanks to Blue Planet II, awareness of plastic pollution has never been greater. Governments, companies, innovators, and individuals are taking action to tackle it. There’s no quick fix for plastic pollution, but these nine plastic pollution facts are bound to make you feel more positive about its future.

1.   Government action is making a difference.

In Kenya you’d face four years in jail for using a plastic bag. A little extreme, perhaps! But government action is hugely effective at reducing plastic. The UK’s plastic bag ban reduced usage by 86%, which puts the newly announced bans on plastic cotton buds, stirrers, and straws in good stead. Taiwan, Vanuatu, the US, Canada, Zimbabwe, and India are amongst some of the other countries to impose bans. The EU is making good strides too.

2.   Rare turtles returned to a beach in Mumbai for the first time in decades.

An Indian lawyer organised the world’s largest beach clean up in Mumbai. Over a three year period, hundreds of volunteers cleared 5,000 tonnes of plastic and litter from the beach, which in some places was 5ft deep. It was an incredible sight when turtles returned to the beach for the first time in 20 years. Here’s to people power!
Plastic pollution facts - Rare turtles returned to a beach in Mumbai
Turtle-y wonderful. Image credit: Mumbai Live


3.   A new global plastic partnership could save millions of tonnes of plastic waste.

Coca Cola is one of 250 organisations to sign up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s plastic partnership. These organisations, which also include PepsiCo, H&M, and L’Oreal, represent 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally. One of the foundation’s aims is to ensure 100% of packaging can be reused, recycled, or composted by 2025.

4.    ‘Seabins’ could collect 70,000 tonnes of litter from the ocean every year.

This clever invention by surfers in Australia sucks plastic out of the sea. On a typical day, one seabin can collect 1.5kg of debris. That may not sound like a huge amount per bin, but there are plans to deploy them in 170 countries. G’day, mate!
Plastic pollution facts - A seabin in action
A seabin in action. Image credit: Eco-Business


5.    Indonesia has pledged $1 billion a year to ocean clean up efforts.

Indonesia is the second biggest plastic polluter after China. But this investment could reduce its marine waste by 70%. It has also created a strategy to reduce plastic in the first place. Indonesia will work with companies, manufacturers and other stakeholders to reduce overpackaging, introduce substitute materials to plastic, and more.

6.   Cups and bottles are being grown from vegetables.

Coffee cups are being made out of gourd, a member of the pumpkin family. They’re being grown in the shape of coffee cups using 3D moulds. And UK startup Notpla has created an edible water bottle from seaweed — yes, really. Coffee cups and plastic bottles are two of the biggest plastic pollutants, so this is exactly the kind of innovation we need!
Plastic pollution facts - Notpla's edible water bottle
An edible water bottle. Image credit: Notpla


7.   Ocean-bound plastics are being turned into a resource for manufacturers.

NextWave, co-founded by Dell, employs people in coastal regions to collect plastic before it can enter the sea. The collected plastic is then sent to manufacturers who reuse it in their production processes. Over the last five years, NextWave has prevented over 1,300 tonnes of plastic from entering the sea.

8.   Tens of thousands of people took part in the Trashtag Challenge.

Forget about trying to tell the difference between a chihuahua or a muffin (really), the ‘Trashtag Challenge’ has taken social media by storm. The challenge has spawned thousands of posts across social media, which show before and after shots of cleaned up areas.
Plastic pollution facts - Trashtag challenge
Can we get a “hell yeah”? Image credit: Twitter


9.   British Supermarkets are cracking down on hundreds of tonnes of plastic packaging.

So far this year, a number of British supermarkets have introduced schemes to reduce plastic. Sainsburys has removed plastic bags for fruit, veg, and bakery items. Waitrose is trialling a “bring your own” container scheme, where you can buy items like pasta, rice, and coffee without any packaging. And Morrisons has rolled out plastic-free fruit and veg aisles in many of its stores.

These plastic pollution facts give a glimpse of a less polluted future. Governments and organisations worldwide are cracking down on plastic, which will mean less on shelves and less ending up as waste. As consumers, we’re more environmentally aware than ever. Consumer single-use plastic is bound to become a taboo, and hopefully one day, a thing of the past. With a gourd coffee cup in hand, let’s cheers to that! 

Ready to do your bit? Check out our beginner’s guide on how to reduce plastic.

Oh hello! Just a quick note to say, we’re an eco-friendly subscription box helping our subscribers reduce plastic waste step-by-step. If that sounds exciting, enjoy 10% off your first box today with the code FIRSTBOX. That’s all for now, cheerio.

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