Why We Should Reduce Our Plastic Waste

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By Meg Moon

Each week, humans ingest 5 grams of plastic. That's like eating a credit card every single week! This is because micro plastics are in our food and drink, from bottled water to a sprinkling of salt, the particles exist. A recent study by the University of Newcastle in Australia discovered that on average humans ingest 2,000 micro plastic particles. But what exactly is micro plastic? They are tiny particles that come from pieces of plastic that have broken down over long periods of time. They find their way into our drinking water, meaning that we could be drinking large amounts of micro plastic particles every single week without even realising!

Although plastic can seem like a convenient solution, ultimately its impact has a devastating effect on many aspects of the environment, including ourselves! If the thought of devouring credit cards each week isn’t enough to make you reconsider, then here are some more ways plastic reduction can benefit us all.

Saving Humans

As previously mentioned, drinking plastic isn’t ideal, but one of the major reasons for this is because of its potential long-lasting effects. Bottled water is one of the primary sources for ingesting plastic, but the harmful chemicals that seep out of the plastic are the biggest concern. The toxicity can lead to several health problems such as cancer, diabetes, bowel disease and arthritis to name just a few. If you switch your water consumption to a reusable, non-plastic bottle when you’re out and about, then you’re already making the right moves. With every plastic bottle we refuse to buy, we are minimising the use of disposable plastic, and helping our own bodies.

Saving the Animals

The same idea can apply when it comes to our creatures, big and small. The devastating effects on ocean life are really heartbreaking. An overwhelming 10 to 20 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every single year. The sneaky pieces of micro plastic find their way into animals, harming their bodies and causing diseases, much like humans. Not only this, but they can become tangled in our nets and suffocate in our shopping bags, just because we didn’t make the choice to use reusable products. Decreasing our plastic waste will literally help us save our animals.

Less Carbon Dioxide

We all know the negative impact carbon dioxide has on global warming as it enhances the greenhouse effects, and carbon dioxide is a product of our plastic consumption. We actually create most of our plastic using non-renewable fossil fuels like oil, generating an overwhelming amount of CO2. This is the same for recycling, so much energy could be saved if we didn’t need to recycle in the first place. ​

Safer food

If we want safer drinking water, then it’s likely we need safer food too. Remember those nasty particles floating around in our drinks? Well, we use the same water to grow our food. Those micro plastics are also living in our hot meals, lunch boxes and snacks. On top of this, they’re in the cling film and sandwich bags that we use to wrap our food! Even thinking about where we buy our food from can be useful. Just think of how far your food travels across the world in its plastic container, when we could buy locally grown, unpackaged fruit and veg.

Safer air

It goes without saying that we need air to breathe. In the same way micro plastics enjoy living in food and water, it also spends its time poisoning the air. Burning plastics to get rid of them produces harmful fumes which we inhale, along with animals and our crops. As we cause destruction to the planet, we also cause damaging effects on ourselves. Reducing the demand for plastic is the most impactful way we can make effective changes. Start small, and soon you will see the enormous progression whilst influencing friends and family along the way. There is an incredible array of alternatives we can use instead, and soon something so important will simply become a habit.

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