green flash 53: Plastics, plastics, plastics!

Over the last 60 years, plastic has become central to our lives and mankind has subjected the planet to a tsunami of plastic waste. In 2010, 300 million tonnes of plastic was made – about half of it only used once.

Annually 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.  More than 1 million bags are used every minute.

In Australia in 2010, a group of people challenged themselves to reduce the amount of plastic they used – and it has grown from there.  This year we signed up again to join them.

The Plastic Free July Challenge

The challenge is quite simple. Attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July. “Single-use” includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging … basically anything that’s intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (plastic bags, bottles, takeaway coffee cups & straws).

Why participate?
Apart from the small amount of plastic which has been incinerated EVERY piece of plastic which was ever produced still exists on earth somewhere. In the first 10 years of this century MORE plastic was produced than the entire last century!

Why use something for a few seconds that is going to spend the rest of your life trying to break down in landfill?  Even if you don’t do anything different, it is useful to notice how much plastic you bring into your home each week.

In October this year all supermarkets will have to introduce a 5p charge for plastic bags, This has reduced their use by up to 80% in some countries.  Recycling all you can, will reduce the amount going to landfill – but reducing your use will make a much bigger impact.  

For more information and ideas go to:

Leave a Reply