The Problem with Plastic
Plastic pollution is damaging the health of our oceans. From plankton to pilot whales, algae to albatross ― no ocean life remains free from the effects of plastic waste … it’s even found in the seafood we eat. It’s been dubbed as “one of the most serious emerging threats to marine biodiversity,” by the Convention on Biological Diversity and between 8 and 12 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year – over 80% of it coming from land-based sources. The main contributor is larger plastic litter, including everyday items such as drinks bottles and other types of plastic packaging, as well as sewage-related related debris, such as cotton buds, wet wipes, sanitary waste and microbeads.
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and it’s predicted that figure will rise by another 20% by 2021. However global efforts to collect and recycle the bottles to keep them from polluting the oceans, are just not keeping up.
Here in the UK, the average household uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but only recycles 270 of them – meaning nearly half (44%) are NOT put in the recycling. This means that nationally, of the over 35 million plastic bottles being used every day in the UK, nearly 16 million plastic bottles aren’t being put out for recycling.
If just one in ten Brits refilled once a week, we’d have 340 million less plastic bottles a year in circulation!
- The latest Beachwatch survey (2016, MCSUK) found 159 plastic bottles for every mile of beach surveyed.
- It takes 162g of oil and seven litres of water to manufacture a single one litre disposable PET bottle, which amounts to the release of 100g of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas. This means single use plastic bottles significantly contribute to pollution, even if they are subsequently recycled.
- Nearly two fifths (37%) of children in the UK mainly drink bottled rather than tap water in some parts of the country.
We’ve all heard of the phrase; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Often recycle is where the focus lies. Not with Refill, we’re going straight in at number 1. Reduce! By refilling bottles we take away the need for recycling, which in itself is a complicated process when it comes to plastics.