With the beginning of Plastic Free July, we can’t help but wonder why people still use single use plastic bags? There are so many other options and we have no doubt there are reusable bags in their cupboards yet people still aren’t using them
We’ve all done it, you, me, the woman next door, everyone.
We’ve all made a split second decision and used what was convenient, because we lack preparation and organisation, we’ve grown to love convenience and not think about the consequence. Buying single use plastic has never been so easy! Our parents and grandparents used to pack a picnic basket, wrap up sandwiches in tea towels or napkins with cutlery and take it home with them (some of us still do this but it’s getting rarer) as it was that or nothing.
We spend so much money every year on disposable cutlery, plates, bags, convenient foods that most are laden with so much sugar and other unhealthy additives that it’s not only affecting landfill but also our health.
It all just goes into a big hole in the ground though doesn’t it? Well, some does but it doesn’t always stay there
However, when plastic waste is collected and transported to landfill sites, it can be at risk of escaping into the environment. Even when it’s in landfills, plastic is at risk of blowing away and ending up in rivers or oceans.
Even more of a risk is plastic litter. That’s plastic that either that isn’t collected where good waste managements systems are lacking, or plastic that is simply dropped or left behind on streets or in the environment. These plastic items can be carried by wind and rain into our drainage networks or rivers that then flow into the sea. Major rivers around the world carry an estimated 1.15-2.41 million tons of plastic into the sea every year – that’s up to 100,000 rubbish trucks.
Holidaymakers visiting beaches and leaving behind their bottles, food packaging and cigarette butts on the sand directly contribute to plastic getting into the ocean.
Turtles mistake them for jellyfish, cows have been found with stomachs filled with plastic bags (only watch the link if you’ve got a strong stomach), they’ve suffocated birds, starved whales and fish, and that’s just a tiny bit of it…
Our attitude of “That’s someone else’s job to clean it up” has to end – something i was lovingly told by a passer by the other day as my six year old and I filled our reusable bags with waste we found alongside our local canal.
With Plastic Free July starting, even just small changes like remembering/packing our reusable bags even when we’re just going ‘a walk’ can make a huge difference because we tend to wander around and end up buying something. And even if you don’t buy something use your bags to pick up litter you find on your way and dispose of it properly
We can all make changes and it only takes 21 days to make a habit of something apparently so make your habits, healthy and helpful.