Rethinking Plastic

In February, the United Nations declared War on Ocean Plastic.

Between 10-20 million tonnes of plastic waste and debris finds its way from our land and rivers into our oceans every year, according to Worldwatch

At WildeNest, we asked ourselves, what can we do to help?

We believe that we are custodians of our planet. Each week, we will bring you research-focused and data-driven blogs so that you can know and trust our business, interpersonal and ecological practices.

Last week, we blogged about the Plastic Problem: how microplastics and toxic chemicals have infiltrated our ecosystems, and how our habitual use of plastic is burdening our oceans and our land.

This week, we invite you to join us for Plastic Free July. This movement aims to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. In our professional and personal lives, we have accepted the challenge to go #plasticfree for the month of July. We will share our joys and challenges with you as we go.

plastic problem reminder

Over the last 50 years, the scientific community has been collecting data on the adverse effects of oceanic plastic pollution. Plastics in the ocean are harmful because they:

  1. Disturb and destroy coral reefs, seabeds and beaches
  2. Kill and chronically affect wildlife through entanglement, ingestion and habitat damage
  3. Cost the economy approximately $13 billion per year in damaged marine ecosystems
  4. End up on your dinner plate (microplastics)

Our friends at the Conservation Guide share similar concerns about how plastic pollution affects the oceans. One of their associate projects focuses on South Africa's West Coast. With the large cities of Cape Town and Saldanha on its doorstep, the oceanic and coastline ecosystems are negatively impacted by plastic waste washing up on the shore, or being illegally dumped. It is estimated that more than 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean, and more than 80% of this comes from land through our drains, sewers and rivers. 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing a total of 268,940 tonnes are currently floating in the world’s oceans. 

Plastics certainly don't belong in our oceans or on our plates, but are they all bad?

changing plastic perception

Not all plastics are created equally. Some are easier to recycle, or have greater functionality, whilst others, such as grocery bags, are lightweight, do not biodegrade, are not collected in curbside recycling, and produce very little recoverable plastic. 

In instances of downcycling and the unnecessary consumption of plastic, it's no wonder our oceans are filling up with plastic.

However . . .

Are plastics the problem? Or, are our actions, attitudes and technologies the problem?

From the micro-level, everyday decisions that we make when we shop, to the macro-level industries available to us, we need to find ways to phase out old attitudes and technologies, and replace them with progressive systems. 

plastic june to #plasticfreejuly

It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop.
— Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Challenge accepted #plasticfreejuly 

 

Follow us and share your #plasticfree experiences!

Stay tuned for our next blog as we delve deeper into the plastic problem 

. . . and find out how we are contributing to the UN's War on Ocean Plastic during #plasticfreejuly

Live Well. Shop Wilde.