Many people will have heard a lot of talk about plastic pollution in the news recently and how serious the effects are becoming to our planet. As a waste and recycling management company (with a passionate recycling ethos!), we felt we’d like to share some important information and key facts on the subject…
Plastic was first invented in 1907 however it is mainly the plastics that have been produced during the last 60-70 years that are causing the problem. Nowadays it’s everywhere. We come into contact with it all the time and most of us probably haven’t given it a second thought until now.
Much of the plastic we come into contact with and a major part of the plastic crisis, are ‘single use’ items that we will throw away after their first use! Common examples are bottles, food packaging, cutlery, cotton buds, straws and nappies.
Items such as these can take up to 450 years to biodegrade and whilst plastic will get infinitely smaller, it will never ever, fully disappear.
A less obvious form of plastic is microbeads. Tiny pieces of plastic found in ‘wash off’ cosmetics such as toothpaste and body scrub. They go down our sinks and end up in rivers and oceans causing harm to marine life. Fortunately a ban has been put into place this year in theUKmeaning that by June 2018 companies will no longer be able to produce these types of products containing microbeads.
Plastic in the Ocean
About 10 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in our oceans every year. There is now so much plastic contamination that some parts have been referred to as ‘plastic soup’. The effect of this on marine life is devastating. The two biggest problems are entanglement and ingestion.
Once plastic has slowly degraded it eventually turns into ‘micro-plastics’. These are tiny plastic particles, 5mm in diameter or less and they get ingested and inhaled without any notice.
Micro-plastics are an increasing concern for scientists and in 2016 the European Food Safety Authority stated there was an increased risk to human health and safety. Although the extent of the harm caused to humans is still unknown, plastic is potentially a major source of toxic chemicals to the body.
What Can We Do?
The production of plastic needs dramatically reducing and other alternatives need to be found to make a big enough impact on the plastic problem we are facing. It is largely the governments and corporations responsibility to take action on this. However we can all start making personal changes now to help reduce plastic pollution:
At Haulaway all the waste we collect comes back to our Waste Transfer Station where it is manually sorted by our team of ‘pickers’, working on the picking line. This enables us to pull out and save as much plastic as possible to be baled up and sent away within theUKfor reuse. Soft plastics such as films can be remade into films, and hard plastics might be used by car manufacturers to make items such as dashboards.
Member since: 14th August 2016
Haulaway Skips is a family run waste management company. We provide many services including skip, grab and tipper hire as well as recycled aggregates and topsoil. We recycle over 90% of all waste received...