Drastic About Plastic

Plastic is incredibly versatile and long-lasting, finding its way into every corner of our lives. But the very qualities that make plastic so useful also make it a huge problem. Cheap and disposable, plastic has been a symbol of our throwaway culture. As a result, vast quantities pollute our world. Much of it flows into the oceans, turning them into a plastic soup. A truckload of plastic enters the ocean every single minute and UK supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes every year. With production increasing, that’s set to rise.

Bottles, pots and food trays are immediately obvious, but other types of plastic pollution can be harder to spot. When plastic breaks down it doesn’t disappear, it gets smaller creating tiny particles called microplastics. Even clothes made from artificial materials shed microplastic fibres when they’re washed. Microbeads, another type of microplastic, are sometimes added to products such as cosmetics and toothpaste. Impossible to filter from waste water, they end up in our oceans.

Bits of plastic have been found in every corner of the world, including the deepest ocean trenches and on uninhabited islands. Our own researchers have found plastic pollution in Antarctica. Turtles, dolphins and seabirds can become entangled or injured by large pieces of plastic. It can even be mistaken for food. Microplastics are just as devastating. Swallowed by everything from microscopic zooplankton to giant blue whales, they enter the food chain and carry harmful toxins. Microplastics have even been found in human poo.

We’re just beginning to realise the scale of the problem, but fortunately the answer is simple: make and use less plastic.

Under the banner ‘It’s time to get drastic about plastic’ and starting with a plastic fast for Lent back in 2018 members of the church have been making a real effort to cut down on single -use plastic.

There are many ways that you can play your part and the links below will give you some ideas.

Greenpeace - Find out about plastic pollution and the Greenpeace plastics campaign

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of over 1,200 organisations working towards a world free of plastic pollution.

Plastic Oceans International is a nonprofit organization raising awareness about plastic pollution to inspire behavioral change.

City to Sea, an Bristol-based environmental not-for-profit organisation on a mission to stop plastic pollution. They also offer a range of plastic-free shopping essentials