320 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally in 2016 and this is set to double by 2034. Society’s addiction to plastic has come about largely due to making our lives more convenient. Food and drink on the go, takeaways, grabbing a coffee etc but convenience has a consequence.
Single-use plastics are used briefly and only once, but their impacts are lasting. Plastic is durable, cheap to produce and we’re consuming it at a staggering rate – current estimates show that at least 8 million pieces of plastic are entering the oceans every single day.
A plastic bottle or coffee cup lid can last for 450 years in the marine environment, slowly fragmenting into smaller pieces which eventually end up microscopic, but never truly go away. This means that every piece of plastic that has ever been produced is still with us, in some form. Imagine if Queen Elizabeth 1 watched the Spanish Armada with a takeaway flat white in her hand, that cup and lid would still be floating in our seas!
Simple changes in a business can make dramatic differences. Getting rid of sachets and offering condiments from bottles; eradicating plastic straws but having paper straws available (only if required) and offering alternatives such as glass bottles or cans.