Halloween is just around the corner, with its scary movies and spooky décor. But given the current state of our planet, it's clear the real horror story is happening here and now and on our doorsteps.
More than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since it became popular in the 1950s. Today, we produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year - that's nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population!
Plastic is everywhere and for many of us, it's integral in our day-to-day routines from self care routines to essential medication. And with more an 99% of plastics made from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal – all of which are dirty, non-renewable resources - it's clear we have a plastic problem we need to fight.
But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of ways we can help reduce some of our plastic-use at home. Here's some of the scariest plastic ghouls - and how you can fight them!
In the UK alone, the average person uses 150 plastic water bottles every year, more than a third of which are not recycled, but littered or dumped in landfill generating 233,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Switching to reusable bottles would prevent 6,741 tonnes of plastic waste entering our natural environment each year.
Cigarette butts are a big problem because lots of people don’t know the cigarette filters contain cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that can take up to 12 years to degrade. Because not everyone knows about this, lots of smokers don’t regard them as litter and often throw them away in drains, making up for as much as 11% of all identifiable plastic litter items found in freshwater environments.
If you’re a smoker, make sure you’re disposing of both the butts and the packaging in the correct, safe way.
People who menstruate will do so for around 40 years of their lives, bleeding for about 5 days a month – that’s about 6 and a half years over a lifetime! All that menstrual blood has to go somewhere. Since most menstrual products come wrapped in plastic, with plastic applicators, plastic strings, or even including a thin layer of plastic in the absorbent part, that winds up to be an awful lot of plastic.
By swapping to a menstrual cup like this one, you can replace thousands of period products and save money over time too. Not ready to take the plunge yet? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Check out our plastic-free tampons and pads, all made with organic cotton, in our Period Care collection.
Plastic bags are used for an average of just 12 minutes before they’re disposed of. Then, it takes around 500 years (or more!) for the plastic bag to degrade in landfill.
By swapping to biodegradable and compostable alternatives like these, you can replace around 156 toxic plastic bags a year. Not only are ours free from oil-based plastics and will break down in 6 months when composted, they’re made using wind-powered electricity in a zero-waste factory.
UK supermarkets use a whopping 900,000 tonnes of plastic packaging a year – this needs to end. The ultimate solution is filling up your own reusable containers at bulk food stores, but more recently it’s getting easier to reduce your plastic in supermarkets too. Try to skip plastic shopping bags by taking your own reusable shopping bags and prioritise nude food like package-free cucumbers. Look for staples like flour and sugar paper bags and buy any cheeses and meats at the deli counters, using your own reusable containers.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year, single-use face coverings have caused an enormous amount of plastic waste. When they’re whole, wildlife is getting tangled in it, or the plastic’s getting ingested. Since they’re made of plastic, they don’t biodegrade either, although they will break up, introducing more microplastics into the sea and the food chain.
Outside of essential clinical settings, there are lots of environmentally-friendly, reusable alternatives you can use instead. Looking for inspiration? Check out our face covering collection.
That's it from us for now, thanks for taking the time to read out blog! Did we miss any of the scariest plastics? Some ghastly ghouls you don't know how to fight? Let us know in the comments below.