Plastics are versatile, hardwearing materials which have benefited humans through its application in medicine, electronics or transport. Most plastics, however, are used for packaging and discarded after a single use. Due to their durability and disposable usage, the detrimental effect of plastics and plastic carrier bags in particular on the environment is immense.
Even when plastic bags are disposed of properly, the wind blows them from landfills into the ocean. All the plastics that slip into the sea are carried by currents, and pile up where the various currents converge. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the most well known of the floating rubbish gyres; it is five times the size of the UK. However, there are actually five of them across the globe (see picture below).
The campaigners from Greener Upon Thames bring the problem of plastics to the point: “Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photodegrade – breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits, contaminating soil, waterways, oceans and entering the food chain when ingested by animals. In the marine environment plastic bag litter is lethal, causing severe pain and distress, and killing at least 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles every year.”
Reducing the consumption of plastics and plastic carrier bags therefore is crucial and you can start making a difference today:
– Talk to businesses
When you visit shops, ask them whether they use biodegradable packaging and why not if they don’t.
– Use a re-useable cotton bag
Reduce your reliance upon plastic bags.
– Make your party green
Parties, weddings, all kinds of social functions generate waste. ACE has teamed up with London Bio Packaging (proud supplier of sustainable packaging to the London 2012 Olympic Games) to promote food packaging made from palm leaf, sugar bagasse and plant starch. Check our websiteace.org.uk/shop.html for details.