Plastic pollution kills millions of animals every year and negatively impacts the natural habitats of thousands of species. According to Surfers Against Sewage facts and figures "There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tonnes."
Considering plastics like these are estimated to take 400+ years to break down, it's clear we are faced with a mammoth task, not just in our generation but for many yet to come.
This information can be very overwhelming, and individuals can find it daunting, believing their action alone won't make an impact. It's for this reason events like Plastic Free July are so important, to help encourage people to come together and act against plastic pollution.
You can play your part in the fight against plastic pollution with us at Just Footprints. We place an emphasis on the importance of waste-free and single-use plastic free shopping, offering up a way of shopping that more and more of us need to adopt to incite change. So why do we keep banging on about single-use plastics?
In 2017, the UK’s 10 biggest retailers produced over 900,000 tonnes of plastic packaging and 2 billion plastic bags. This was two years after the supposed successful plastic bag tax which despite decreasing plastic bag usage by 95%, an undeniably laudable achievement, still allows so many plastic bags to be produced. A 2015 study estimated that there are more than 15 trillion plastic bags currently in the ocean. Therefore changing shopping habits, like those encouraged by Just Footprints and initiatives like Plastic free July are crucial in determining the planets future.
If you're suffering from climate anxiety and are feeling a little confused about what you can do to help, there are a few simple changes you can make in your everyday life;
- switch to reusable sandwich bags/wraps
- replace plastic straws with reusable metal ones
- try toothpaste tablets rather than tubes of paste
- refill dry foods like pasta and rice rather than buying them in plastic
- top up your washing up liquid in store, rather than buying another plastic bottle
These are just a few ways in which you can make a difference with us in store.
It is small changes like this from everybody that add up to cause real change. The next steps from these small lifestyle changes include avoiding pre-packaged food, ditching disposable period products in favour of washable, reusable alternatives, using bar soaps as a much more environmentally friendly alternative to bottled hand soap and buying plastic free deodorants.
The Global Plastics Treaty, which was signed by the United Nations Environment Assembly in March of this year, essentially came about because of growing public support. In 2021 an estimated 140 million people took part in Plastic Free July, this showed how, many people worldwide, value the importance of restricting plastic pollution. In fact studies performed by Ipsos showed that around 90% of people think that a global treaty is important in the fight against plastic pollution.
This astounding public support offers hope for reducing plastic usage.
Guest written by Sam who has been working with us this week for work experience.