The Real Horror This Halloween – The Scary Truth About Plastic

Halloween is just around the corner, with its scary movies and trick or treat traditions. But given the current state of our planet, it’s clear the real horror story is happening here and now, on our own doorstep, right in front of our eyes.    One of the scariest truths of our generation is our 20th century-born love affair with plastic.

We’ve become so reliant on it that about 40% of all plastic produced is for packaging, used once, and then discarded. i

The convenience of plastic packaging has created habits that come with terrifying impacts. Every minute around the globe, we buy one million plastic bottles, one million disposable cups, and two million plastic bags.ii

The scary truth

As a synthetic material, plastic doesn’t biodegrade. As it gets battered and bruised in our environment, it becomes more and more brittle, breaking down into ‘microplastics’.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long that are being consumed at all levels of the food chain.

Scientists have even found microplastics present in plankton!

Microplastics have found their way into our seafood, our water, our honey, our beer…

We don’t yet know the impact that it will have on human health, for this generation or those to come, but the evidence we have about how it affects marine life paints a disturbing picture for the future of the human race.

Read more: Tonnes of Plastic Missing from the Ocean – Where is it all going?

 

The transgenerational effect

Prior to the 1970s, polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, were used in a range of products from electrical appliances to household paints.

In the 70s and 80s, scientists uncovered ‘extensive contamination’ to humans and the environment and PCBs were banned. Newer research has linked the chemicals to endocrine and immune system disruption, and reproductive failure in vertebrates.v

Now, more than thirty years later, the accumulation of these chemicals in the food chain could cause many of the world’s orca whale populations to collapse over the next century.

This case study provides some insight into the effects that our consumption of synthetic materials and chemicals can have on our environment and life on earth in years to come.

We can turn the tide!

It’s so easy to be terrified into inaction by the scary truths we see on the news every day. Trying to fix the big picture can feel impossible.

That’s why it’s so important to remember that every single tiny positive change each one of us makes to reduce our impact is a huge deal if we all do it together.

Here are 10 things you can do today to help reduce and change the future impacts of plastic:

  1. Arm yourself with a reusable water bottle and a reusable coffee cup.
  2. Remember reusable shopping bags when you’re out and about.
  3. Opt for food and skincare packaged in glass, aluminum, and cardboard.
  4. Switch to a bamboo or cornstarch toothbrush.
  5. Replace plastic scrubbing brushes with plant-fiber scrubbing brushes.
  6. Choose plant-fiber fabrics that won’t contribute to microplastic pollution when washed.
  7. Invest in beeswax wraps.
  8. Switch to reusable sanitary pads or period underwear.
  9. Try shampoo and soap bars.
  10. Spread the word about the solutions!

 

Remember, every natural and reusable solution you choose to use is a vote for a better future.

We can turn the tide, together.

 

Where does it go?

Our waste infrastructure is an overwhelmed and overflowing monster, and devastatingly every single minute we dump a lorry’s worth of rubbish into our ocean. iii

This level of synthetic, man-made pollution is unprecedented.

The world has never faced anything like it.

Currently, our plastic habits are killing 300,000 marine mammals and 400,000 seabirds every year. And if nothing changes, by 2050 there will be 500 times the amount of plastic in our ocean than there is now. In other words, there will be more plastic down there than fish.iv

 

Thank you!

Thanks for tuning in and I hope you learned a thing or two from this blog! Let me know your thoughts below in the comment section, I’d love to hear what you have to say or what practices you are taking to tackle this global issue.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

*Republished from The Clean Collective*

References: 

i National Geographic
ii BBC, Drowning In Plastic
iii BBC, Drowning In Plastic
iv BBC, Drowning In Plastic
v National Centre For Biotechnology Information

 

10 thoughts on “The Real Horror This Halloween – The Scary Truth About Plastic

  1. Hi Danielle, this does indeed paint a disturbing picture. We are ALL responsible for this mess, therefore we all need to do something now before it’s too late, if not for us then for future generations. Like you say, every little helps and we need to start getting into the habit of implementing everything on your list. So much packaging that you see in the supermarkets is just pointless, but over the last few years I have seen a decrease.

    I am hopeful for the human race, I think the new generations coming in now will not allow the world to carry on like this, they are too smart now, I see it in my own nephews. They are going to learn from our mistakes, but unfortunately they will be the ones that will probably have to clear up the mess.

    1. Hey, Stefanie! I definitely agree with you that there is sure hope that we are finally doing something about it and are making changes in all sorts of ways!

  2. Awesome post! It is important for everyone to understand how our environment is getting spoiled with synthetic wastes. Change should come from every person to save our environment. This is an eye-opener post to change from plastic to biodegradable products.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kavitha! It is very true about how we are hurting our environment but like you said, everyones choices makes an impact!

  3. I did not know that 40% of plastics are just discarded after one use. That is just shocking. I am quite surprised. We need to do something about this problem, especially since it is transgenerational like you say. That is quite frightening.

    I am glad to hear there are ways to minimize the damage, but I feel like it puts most of the pressure to change on the consumer. What can I do to convince companies and governments to change policy to stop plastic use? I can change and it will have an impact, but it does not really work if no one else is changing. I look forward to reading your response.

    Thank you so much for this interesting article and I hope you make it a great day!

    1. Hey, Alex! Consumers are the way for change! They control the market and they influence leaders in government, so just do your part, encourage others and it WILL make difference 🙂

  4. Very well written article on a very scary real problem our generation is dealing with. In our home we upcycle everything. We use shampoo bottles to make phone charging stations, old fence boards to decorate or garden with. We even use big heavy duty commercial size flour containers as planters for root veggies. Any little thing we can do to help. Just one person can make a difference.

    1. Hey Ashleigh, that is amazing to hear! You guys are really kicking it at doing your part to reduce waste to the environment. Very inspiring!

  5. Hi Danielle,

    I like how spot on you are here. I can see how the real scare is in our lands and water with plastics being consumed all over the world. It’s crazy how we’re living in a world of waste but we don’t do much about it to make a global change. I remember walking the beaches of Orange County California of my Home city and beaches and in the waters there were plastics and on the sand everywhere! I like your solutions, as I do use my own water bottle now. I actually usually have it on me where I go. Thank you!

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