The plastic plague — and those creating change

 
image credit: Amber Wolfe

image credit: Amber Wolfe

 

If you’re reading this you’re probably a little like me, you care about the ocean, you don’t think climate change is fake news and you own a keep cup.

“In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 tonne (1.1 tons) of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”

This was my motivation for signing up for ‘Plastic Free July’ at a moments notice. I care about the environment, this will be simple. Turns out it isn’t that straightforward. I’ll highlight some of the challenges later.

Luckily for us there are some incredible innovations that aren’t just cleaning up, but are striving for consumer change.

Sea Bin Project

The Sea Bin is a floating bin run designed to install in still water, like marinas, that can capture up to 1.5kg of plastic per day. Incredibly the bins are also designed to capture surface oils.

The Aussie invention is set to be released for sale in Summer this year, you can sign up to their mailing list here to be notified.

 
 

The Ocean Cleanup

Cleverly, the Ocean cleanup system uses the existing ocean currents in some of the most polluted sections of the Pacific to it’s advantage to funnel plastics towards a collection device where they are stored for recycling.

This project is also energy neutral and autonomous making it a no brainer.

 
 

While these kick arse projects are doing wonders to clean our oceans, real change will be the result of combining education and consumer demand.

Some challenges I’ve had so far in ‘Plastic Free July and the solutions I’ve found (apart from the obvious coffee cup solutions and hessian grocery bags, reusable water bottles) are:

  1. Fruit and vegetable plastic bags at supermarkets — instead choose these super lightweight, heavy duty recycled plastic reusable bags.
  2. Meat from the deli — Woolworths won’t tare containers to zero weight, it’s not possible on their machines, (I haven’t checked Coles) but the local butcher can.
  3. Instead of shampoo in bottles try out these shampoo bars — they worked really well, although they did leave a bit of a waxy residue.
  4. Glad wrap — these beeswax wraps are fantastic for tins and bottles.

I’m sure there will be more — I’ll save those for the end of the month.

Initially, I was worried about being an inconvenience when I was shopping, but it’s time we realise that intentionally inconveniencing corporations who are part of the problem and not the solution is the way that change is made.