On land and at sea, plastic endangers life. How do you reduce, if not remove, the volume of plastic in the atmosphere that is dispersed? Natureious provides 14 tips for you.
Plastic is omnipresent from the North Pole to the South Pole, passing by the deepest seabed. The oceans are beginning to look like an immense soup of plastic. It is estimated that per square kilometer there are 1230 g of plastic floats, not to mention ropes, fishing nets, crates and bottles.But (micro)-plastics often enter the soil, due to agricultural plastics buried during plowing, among other things.
Most of the plastic waste occurs in the form of microplastics: plastic parts varying from 5 microns to 5 millimeters. It is difficult for our wastewater treatment plants to filter these particles, which end up in surface water and eventually in the sea, where different marine species consume them and thus end up in the food chain.Mussels from the North Sea contain so much plastic that the average consumer of these mollusks will ingest up to 11,000 plastic particles per year, according to environmental toxicologist Colin Janssen of UGent. The worms eat the plastic particles in the soil as well. The urgent need to reduce this emission is obvious, although the effect on health and nature is not yet apparent.
Up to 11,000 plastic particles may be consumed each year by the average user of these shellfish.
Knowledge is growing and actions to eliminate plastic waste are being planned by many governments. For instance, the Belgian Government has reached an agreement with Detic, “the association of cosmetics, detergents, cleaning products, glues and sealants manufacturers and distributors” with the objective of “completely replacing plastic microbeads in oral care and cosmetic rinse-out products by 31 December 2019”.
The EU aims to limit the use of single-use plastics and, similarly, on World Environment Day 2018, the UN singled out plastic waste.
Plastic remains, however, a valuable material. The most important thing is that it is correctly recycled and that it doesn’t end up in nature. It is not only governments and companies who play an invaluable role in this respect, but also consumers. Glo.be offers 14 tips for you.
Stop emissions arising from plastic waste
1. Never leave garbage on the streets, on the beach, in nature…
Put it in a can of garbage. Stop your garbage before the next trash can, if you can’t find any or if it’s overflowing. Indeed, it can blow up if you add your trash to an already full trash can. Often, you should only wait until you get home to throw them away.
There’s still no room in nature for biodegradable and compostable plastic. In industrial composting plants, this type of plastic is only broken down cleanly, with the correct proportions of moisture, heat, bacteria, and oxygen. In home composters, and even less so in nature, this is not possible.
Cigarette filters, a kind of plastic, are made of cellulose acetate. So don’t throw the cigarette butts away! Cigarette butts also contain many hazardous substances, including tobacco, heavy metals, and other chemicals, in addition to plastic.Every day, smokers around the world purchase 18 billion cigarettes. In the street or through the window, two-thirds of them are thrown. It is hazardous to our world. The same applies to e-cigarettes that are definitely not more environmentally friendly than cigarette filters.
2. On the lane, stop pre-packaged meals or throw the packages in the garbage.
3. Just before the garbage truck arrives, carry your garbage to the driveway.
This reduces the likelihood that the bag will break and waste will spill out.
4. At a group, stop losing balloons.
Balloons are by far the most dangerous plastic that can swallow a seabird! One animal in five that receives a single fragment dies from it. Use them not.
5. Collect waste plastic.
Or maybe at your holiday place, you should engage in a beach clean-up?
6. As well as possible, sort your plastic waste.
In the PMC container, not all plastic can be put in. There is still some way to go for the industry to boost the recycling of various forms of plastics. But today, several container parks, for example, also provide the ability to collect hard plastics and plastic films separately. Take this chance. The amount of plastic that ends up in residual waste limits this sorting.
7. Use reusable bags and pouches.
Bring a shopping bag when you go shopping and refuse plastic bags. Also bring reusable bags to store your fruits and vegetables.
8. Stop waste plastics of all types.
Forks, scissors, spoons, stirrers and swabs of cotton… None of these things ought to be plastic. It’s safer to use a reusable container, like glass, for example. Stop plastic cups as well. Usually, even paper ones are coated with a thin plastic sheet.It is best to bring a mug of your own. Using a reusable razor with blades that are replaceable. Do not add straws. Drink your drink from a bottle or take it to a cafe or restaurant with your own reusable glass, steel or bamboo straw. And did you know that washable and reusable diapers still exist?
9. Stop packaging of plastic.
You may also get the desired amount of slices cut instead of purchasing prepackaged cheese slices. Today, unpackaged items such as nuts, wheat, pasta and beans are (already) sold in supermarkets. What you need to do is carry your bags or jars for recycled use.Whenever possible, your fruit juices, cleaning products, detergents… prefer cardboard bricks or Tetra Paks to plastic. And why not cook on your own instead of buying ready-made prepared meals?
10. Don’t buy plastic bottles of water.
Tap water is of exceptional quality in Belgium. Install a filter or use a filter jug if you want even better results.
11.Drive less, pick a featherweight.
Surprisingly, a significant quantity of micro-plastics is created by the wear and tear of car tires: 10-28 percent of the microplastics in the world’s oceans come from car tires. A light car’s tires wear less. Make sure the tires are inflated at the right pressure as well.
12. In personal care goods, avoid microbeads.
Industry is making efforts to replace plastic microbeads, but cosmetics, shower gels, and toothpaste that lack them can already be turned on.
13. For your washing machine, stop synthetic clothing and/or purchase a filter.
Synthetic garments such as fleeces release tiny plastic fibers into the air when washed. It is thought that more than a third of the plastic waste in the oceans comes from washing.Avoiding synthetic garments is safer. In the washing machine, you can also add a filter or place your synthetic clothes in a special laundry bag. When the washes are shorter in length and are performed at lower temperatures (20 ° C-30 ° C), less plastic fibers are also released.
14. Be cautious with your drawing.
Paint residue also contributes to the presence in the atmosphere of micro-plastics. Therefore, do not rinse your brush under the tap, the container yard must go to this rinse spray. And pick up dust that comes off when painted surfaces are sanded.