Key Facts About Plastic Pollution

What is plastic pollution?

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles (e.g. plastic bottles, bags and microbeads) in the Earth’s environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, and humans. Plastics that act as pollutants are categorized into micro-, meso-, or macro debris, based on size. Plastics are inexpensive and durable, and as a result levels of plastic production by humans are high. However, the chemical structure of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation and as a result they are slow to degrade.

What is the current state of the plastic pollution crisis?

  • About 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s – the weight of roughly a billion elephants or 47 million blue whales.
  • Only about 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment.
  • Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year.
  • The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute.
  • There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans – enough to circle the Earth over 400 times.

Who is most impacted by plastic pollution?

  • Scientists have documented 700 marine species affected by ocean plastic.
    Up to 9 of 10 seabirds, 1 in 3 sea turtles and more than half of whale and dolphin species have ingested plastic.
  • In the Canadian Arctic, 87% of birds have ingested plastics of some sort.
    Crustaceans tested at the ocean’s deepest point, Mariana Trench, had ingested plastic.
  • People living along rivers and coastlines in China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are the most impacted by plastic pollution.
  • Low-income communities face more health impacts near plastic production sites, have greater exposure to toxins and waste, and bear the brunt of the impacts of improper plastic disposal and incineration.

What are real solutions to plastic pollution?

  • Government bans and restrictions for unnecessary and damaging plastic products or activities. Legislative reuse targets.
  • Mandated Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations and strategies to make producers and companies responsible for the damage plastic causes to our environment, make them accountable for the entire lifecycle and true costs of their products.
  • Government and corporate investment in reuse models and new ways to deliver products using less or no packaging.
  • Corporate phase-out of production and use of single-use plastic products and throwaway product models.

What are false solutions to plastic pollution?

  • Bioplastics – not as green as they seem, approach with caution. Though companies often market them under the same umbrella, a product is not necessarily biodegradable and may require very specific conditions to break down. They also do not solve the litter or throwaway culture problem.
  • Incineration – creates other pollution and does not address the overproduction problem
  • Focusing on end of life like recycling or disposal – we can’t recycle our way out of this crisis.
  • Clean up – while clean up efforts help reduce litter problems, they do not address the source of the problem and ignore the unseen plastic pollution – microplastics.

Do you recycle?

We recycle and we give as much as possible to charity also. We do this to reduce our own costs and more importantly to reduce the environmental impact of the house clearance. Where we can’t donate, we use licensed recycling centres. So even if your side board can’t be used again in its current form, it will be recycled and reused in another form.

Generally in a typical house clearance the only items that have to be disposed of via landfill are perishable food. Any non-perishable food stuffs are collected and then donated to local charities like soup kitchens or homeless centres.

Do you have a waste carriers license?

You can check online on the environment agency website HERE to check a waste carrier, their full details will be provided. If you require more information feel free to give us a call on 0800 2922388 and we will be more than happy to help.

If you would like to find out more information about house clearance check out our page HERE