Plastic… you must be sick of reading about it by now. In the last two months alone, you’ve probably heard about the pilot whale that died from eating plastic bags, tons of plastic washing up on beaches in the Caribbean, and the emerging threat of micro- and nanoplastics.
Scientists have worked on the plastic problem for decades… discovering enzymes that help break it down, inventing bioplastics made from plants instead of oil, assessing its impact on both animals and our health, studying how long it takes to degrade (a plastic bottle takes 450 years)…. the list goes on.
Ireland is the EU’s top producer of plastic waste. The average Irish person throws away an enormous 61kg of plastic packaging, 30kg more than the EU average. I was shocked when it was revealed that over 95% of our plastic waste was sent to China until last year when they stopped importing it. It hit home to me that recycling isn’t plastic’s miracle solution.
Last week, I got another shock. While looking at the packaging of what I thought were cotton make-up pads, I realised that they were only 60% cotton. The other 40% was polyester which is a plastic-based fabric. This prompted an analysis of labels throughout my house, and I found hidden plastic everywhere.
So instead of a typical Science Calling post about the latest research, or interviews with scientists about the amount of dead turtles caught in plastic that they found during their ecology experiment, I’m going to put my words into action.
Science Calling Plastic Free Challenge
Every day during the month of August, starting today, I’m going to tackle a plastic item in my home and try to eliminate it from my life (and bin). For bonus points, I’m going to do this without spending any extra money. For transparency, I’m excluding all prescribed medication and skincare from this challenge.
You can follow my daily challenges on Twitter and Instagram (on that point… Science Calling is joining Instagram for the first time… hope to see you there!). There will also be a weekly post updating you about my successes (and failures).
Join in by taging me on social media, using #SCPlasticFree, and most importantly, reducing your own plastic consumption. If you have any tips to help me on my journey, please get in touch or comment below.
Let the CHALLENGE begin!