By Lauriane Bourdiau, posted 12/02/21
Looking for solutions beyond simply recycling
STOP PLASTIC POLLUTION IN OUR OCEANS : WHY RECYCLING IS NOT THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION
More and more plastic debris ends up in our oceans every single day. I was recently shocked to learn that over 300 million tonnes of plastic items are being produced on average per year and by 2050, with the global population expanding, this production is likely to be tripled! This will lead us to approximately 900 million tonnes of plastic produced per year. Is it only me who finds this number outrageous? And the worst is that most of it will eventually end up in the environment, spoiling our lands and polluting our oceans…Sad times indeed…
A LOT OF PLASTIC WILL NOT BE RECYCLED
According to a worldwide study led in 2017, approximately 91% of the plastic produced in the world is NOT recycled. Yes, you have read correctly…NOT RECYCLED! I always thought I was doing the right thing by throwing my plastic items into the recycling bin, but the reality is quite dramatically different… Did you know that out of all the plastic that you throw away thinking it will get recycled, one little piece of contaminant will divert a whole lot of recyclables into landfill, including plastic bottles? From landfill, millions of tonnes of plastics will then make their way to our oceans, carried up by the wind and water streams.
AND IF RECYCLED, PLASTIC WILL NOT BE RECYCLED INDEFINITELY
Are you aware that the same plastic item, depending on its size and composition, can generally only be recycled up to 3 times before its quality starts to decrease and cannot be recycled anymore? Once it is produced, it stays forever; plastic cannot degrade so the more we produce, the more ends up in our environment and our oceans. It is believed that every single piece of plastic ever made is still on this planet in some form or another. Do you want to read about an interesting fact? 8 million tonnes (yes, 8 million tonnes!) plastics enter our oceans every year, adding up to the alarming 150 million tonnes already circulating in our marine environments.
THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE, TRY ADOPTING THE 3 R’S MINDSET
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. As you can notice, recycle only comes third on the list but in our societies we tend to forget the importance of the first 2 R’s: Reduce and Reuse. Recycling should indeed be our last resort, ultimately the only viable solution is to reduce your daily usage of single-use plastic, and reuse as much as you can.
So remember, no matter where you live, your plastic consumption will definitely have an impact globally. Our Planet, our oceans, everything is connected and our plastic consumption has a great impact on us. If we protect our nature, if we care about protecting our oceans against marine pollution, we ultimately protect ourselves too.
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