How plastic packaging is damaging our environment – Wyatt & Ackerman
“There’s more pieces of microplastic in our seas than there are stars in our galaxy. It is estimated that in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.”
Cheap and easy to shape – Plastic was introduced as so-called “miracle material” in the 1950’s. Society loves plastic. So much so that we’ve truly adopted it as the material of choice for just about anything. It’s estimated that we’ve produced 8.5 billion tonnes of plastic since 1950.
As a result of this love for plastic, we seem to be doing irreparable damage to our environment. Our use of plastic has caused substantial damage to the earth, and humans could end up being a victim of its success.
Studies show that 80% of plastic produced has either been thrown away to landfill or has polluted the environment in some form. Only 9% has been recycled, with the rest being incinerated.
How much plastic is in our seas?
Experts indicate that over 8 million tonnes of plastic get into our ocean every year. This causes havoc on animals & natural eco-systems that live in the sea. It’s estimated that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. It’s also said that 99% of seabirds will have consumed plastic in one way or another.
Plastic has an iron grip on this planet, with its reach spreading globally. Even the once pristine Arctic has 300 billion pieces of plastic polluting the land.
Is plastic pollution dangerous?
Some types of plastic are known to be toxic and can create serious health problems if found in the body. Plastics can disrupt hormones that are crucial for healthy living, creating a lot of trouble for animals. Floating pieces of plastic act as a surface dangerous poisons & pollutants can collect on.
We only need to look at our closest shorelines to find out how bad the problem is getting. The amount of plastic that washes up on any coast is terrifying. The damage it’s causing to wildlife morbid. Animals will often confuse plastic packaging for food, eating abundant amounts that will end up killing the animal. Sea turtles confuse plastic bags for jellyfish, whilst seagulls dive at floating plastic debris mistaking it for fish.
Studies show that plastic pollution is harming more than 650 species of animals, leading to what some call the sixth mass extinction of life on earth.
Why do we need to worry about plastic pollution?
Some people may be non-receptive to the idea of plastic pollution, but the effects are adverse & apparent. Poisoning one of our main food sources (the sea) is a huge mistake since 92.6 million tonnes of food comes from the sea every year.
Plastic can degrade to the point they can be ingested and pass through the flesh of fish. The problem now is that the sea is full of plastic. The entire sea is now filled with microplastics that fish and other animals are now ingesting. For those that don’t realise it yet, we are already consuming the plastic we have thrown away in the sea. Ingesting this plastic means the same microplastics will end up penetrating our flesh, causing huge health complications.
What can we do?
The world is finally opening its eyes to plastic pollution, seeing it as an actual problem rather than an urban legend. The UN stated that it had “declared war on ocean plastic”.
The UK has also banned microplastics from being used in cosmetics, however, it’s presence is still there in many other products like makeup & sun cream.
Companies from McDonald’s to Waitrose have taken it upon themselves to better their use of plastic. Societal pressures from consumers mean that the public has changed. People no longer want to abuse plastic which is an amazing start when it comes to “one use” plastics. The world is beginning to see the effects of plastic pollution, so we can only hope it’s not too late.
Plastic packaging can be used responsibly, which is why we need to change our attitude towards it’s use. As long as it’s recycled responsibly, plastic can be a material we can use guilt free. Biodegradable packaging is a trend at the moment, which seems to be here to stay as eco-alternatives to plastic are abundant. If you are a business owner and are looking for an eco-friendly solution to packaging, visit our page on Food Packaging
Sarah Wirth works for Wyatt & Ackerman specialising in Marketing and Trend-Analysis.
Categorised in: How Plastic Is Damaging Our Environment
This post was written by Sarah Wirth