Impact

The Problem

If we kill the ocean, we will inadvertently be causing the extinction of the human race.
Plastic contamination is a major contributor to the destruction of ocean life.
The ocean provides 50% of the oxygen we breath and regulates climate change.

Sports use huge amounts of single-use plastic.

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A mass sporting event the size of the London Marathon can easily get through 750,000 bottles of water and result in up to seven tonnes of waste - a lot of merchandise, banners and stickers used at these events are also becoming essentially single use plastics as they are discarded almost immediately once the event has finished.

“Sporting events are notorious for generating huge amounts of plastic waste,” said James Harvey, campaign officer at marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, Independent, April 2018.

References:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/

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Plastic contamination will soon be “catastrophic”.

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We do not yet know the long term affect of plastic waste on humans. Micro-plastics are eaten by shellfish which are then consumed by humans.

“We actually don't know the extent of the risk at the moment. But there will come a point where there will be so much plastic in the ocean that we will be facing hazards that could be endangering human life."

Dr Malcolm Hudson

Infographic idea - Single use plastic in the ocean, plastic covered in bacteria, shellfish eating plastic, human eating fish.

https://news.sky.com/story/plastic-contamination-slowly-killing-human-race-warns-doctor-11416987

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Problematic single use plastic.

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We extract from finite resources to create millions of plastic bottles every minute, we use them, and then quickly they are discarded. Yet they exist forever. Plastic is so cheap we throw it away without a thought. There is plastic pouring into the oceans, river ways and soils, and in the animals that have consumed plastic or micro-plastics. The equivalent of a truck load of plastic enters the oceans every minute. 

Single use plastic is not designed to be reused into new plastic. They could be recycled into a lower grade plastic, but few are. Many types of plastic are not yet recycled. Long term we know this isn’t the answer. Composting is an option, but currently most plastics are not designed to compost either.

According to the U.N. Environment, the most common single-use plastics found in the environment (in order of magnitude) are:

  • cigarette butts
  • plastic drinking bottles
  • plastic bottle caps
  • food wrappers
  • plastic grocery bags
  • plastic lids
  • straws and stirrers
  • other types of plastic bags
  • foam take-away containers

About 150 million tons of plastic - many of it non-degradable - is floating in our oceans. And the flow isn’t slowing down, about eight million tons of plastic waste enters our oceans every year. That is like dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.

References: Ellen Macarthur Foundaiton, New Plastics Economy report, Futures Centre, UN Environment, World Economic Forum.

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We cannot recycle our way out of the plastic crisis.

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Recycling alone will not solve the drain on our earth’s finite resources, and onslaught of waste in our environment. Plastic is made from finite resources. The non-circular design of plastic products, means that; for example a plastic bottle is only 10% likely to get recycled, and then only 1% likely to get made into the same grade plastic. This secondary level recycled plastic, will eventually end up in landfill, even if an initial recycle means this journey to landfill is paused momentarily. Meaning for the millions of plastic bottles being produced, this continues to drain our finite resources, and increases the waste.

This linear system of taking, making and wasting, needs to be switched to a circular economy, where we design plastic or packaging to stay within a system.

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