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Waste & Recycling

How plastic affects the environment – and how you can help

Posted on by David Brown

Plastic waste warning sign
Cheap to produce, relatively durable and easily shaped into all manner of products, plastic is ubiquitous across the planet. Since the 1950s, humans have produced over 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic, much of which has ended up in landfills across the globe, or strewn across the natural environment. Further, the amount of plastic produced in the first decade of this century will approach the total produced in the entire last century – a scary thought.

In this article, the team at David Brown are going to look at just what all of the plastic is doing to the environment.

 

Plastic and our oceans
Plastic waste on tropical beach

Over eight million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans every year and, by 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, and 99% of all seabirds on the planet will have consumed some plastic. If these statistics don’t scare you, then this one will: it’s thought that the sea contains around 51 trillion microplastic particles, a figure which surpasses the number of stars in our galaxy 500 times over.

What does this mean for sea life?
Turtle with plastic bag

Plastic isn’t just an eyesore, it’s toxic and can disrupt essential hormones. On top of this, even when plastic isn’t dangerous, it can act like a magnet for a range of other pollutants which can be found around the ocean.

One of the most immediately recognisable problems which plastic has had on our oceans relates to the creatures that live there. To turtles, plastic bags floating around in the water look like jellyfish, and to seagulls, plastic floating around on the surface looks like a potential meal. It should come as no surprise that these animals have no way of digesting this poisonous substance and, as such, marine plastic is known to cause harm to over 600 species of aquatic life.

How can I contribute to the reduction of plastic pollution?

Orange cocktail with metal reusable straw

    • Say no to straws: One of the easiest ways to keep plastic out of landfill is to start refusing plastic straws. If you don’t like the idea, then consider buying a metal reusable one.

 

  • Reusable shopping bags: 1 million plastic bags are used every single minute – but it takes a single plastic bag over 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase some reusable ones and keep using them!

 

    • Quit chewing gum: Produced from polyvinyl acetate, chewing gum is essentially plastic. It’s also an eyesore which is stuck to so many of our streets. Our advice: skip the chewing gum – and it’s plastic packaging.

 

  • Use a reputable skip hire company for home improvement projects: Whether it’s plastic or any other acceptable material, we aim to recycle all of the waste you dispose of in our skips, so you can rest assured you’re not damaging the environment.

 

If you’re worried about recycling your plastic, we can help. Here at David Brown Skip Hire, we are proud to provide an expert skip hire service to customers throughout Harlow, Epping, Bishop’s Stortford and the surrounding areas. We also offer recycling services for all household, commercial and industrial waste, so for more information on any of these services, our skip hire, or for any other enquiry, get in touch with our friendly team of experts today and we’ll be happy to help with any queries you may have.

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