Our Problem with Plastics

We have a huge problem with plastic.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the amount of plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the fish in the oceans by 2050. That’s only 32 years from now! The society, citing a World Economic Forum report, added that eight million metric tones of plastic finds its way into the oceans every year.

Plastic straws are one of the main things littering the sea and harming marine life, the WCS added. It’s one of the most common pieces of garbage found during beach cleanups. Other garbage includes all manner of items, including plastic bottles, plastic bags, cigarette butts, disposable cups. The list goes on and on.

“Sea turtles, birds, and fish can’t ask us to stop polluting. They often can’t avoid getting tangled in plastic or mistaking it for food, either. An estimated 71 percent of seabirds and 30 percent of turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs. And when an animal ingests plastic, it’s often fatal.” – Wildlife Conservation Society’s Give a Sip campaign.

A growing number of communities is joining the plastic straw ban.  In Vancouver, BC, council has voted to ban the distribution of plastic straws (as well as foam take-out containers and cups) as part of the city’s Zero Waste 2040 strategy. The ban goes into effect June 2019. Under the same bylaw, businesses must choose one of the following options:

  •    No distribution of disposable cups or plastic/paper shopping bags.
  •   Charge an extra fee for disposable cups or plastic/paper shopping bags.
  •   Or, other solutions that will be proposed and finalized through consultation.

Just outside of Vancouver, in Deep Cove on the North Shore, fifteen businesses recently launched a “Last Straw” campaign to cut down on the one-use plastics. It’s not just Canadians who are concerned about the effect of plastic litter on the ocean. Anybody in Kenya who’s found using, producing, or selling a plastic bag faces up to four years in prison, or a $38,000 US fine. In January of this year, the United Kingdom announced a 25-year plan to eliminate plastic waste. It brought in a tax on plastic bags and, as of 2015, it resulted in 9 billion fewer plastic bags in circulation. Later this year, a ban on plastic straws, stirrers (used mostly for coffee) and cotton buds, goes into effect. Taiwan beat them to the punch, banning single-use plastic bags, straws, utensils, and cups as of February. Seattle is the first city in the United States to ban plastic straws and plastic utensils. That happens July 1st.

Many others are jumping on the bandwagon, and we are so happy to see the momentum behind banning one-use plastics. So happy that, to celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8th, SeaLuxe will be giving away environmentally-friendly straws made from bamboo with every online purchase made that day!

On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet celebrate and honor the ocean, which connects us all. Get together with your family, friends, community, and the planet to start creating a better future. Working together, we can and will protect our shared ocean. Join this growing global celebration June 8th! Learn more about it right here

 

Rebecca Dixon