5 July 2018

Enough is Enough!

It’s time to say no to plastic. It’s time for each and every one of us to take count of the unnecessary and avoidable plastic we use on a daily basis and do something about it. Need some encouragement? Read on…


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It is no exaggeration to say that plastic is one of the world’s worse pollutants.

The proliferation of plastic has become an insidious plague on our planet and the prognosis is not good. There is a cure, however – stop using it and find an alternative.

Like any addiction, it is easier said than done. Plastic is so useful, and we have become completely reliant on its use. It’s cheap, it’s strong, it’s light, it’s waterproof… it’s totally amazing. However, it’s also toxic and it’s extremely difficult to dispose of or recycle – and there’s the rub.

The positive news is that there’s a growing awareness of the problem and the beginning of a willingness to do something about it.

For Robyn Ellson, one of Ray White Damerell Group’s top-selling salespeople, her journey to becoming plastic free started as a New Year’s resolution…

“I’ve always had an environmental conscience, but, like many people, when I get busy I tend to focus on work and forget about the planet… which isn’t great,” she admits. “Anyway, back in December I began seeing a lot of posts in my social feeds about plastic pollution in the ocean. From there, I started to build this awareness of all the plastic I was using, and I was horrified.”

 

Robyn was even more horrified to find out that, despite her best efforts, it was almost impossible to avoid plastic. She says the recent ban on plastic shopping bags by selected supermarket chains is commendable and a good start, but it’s the tip of the iceberg.

“If you go down any shopping aisle, plastic is absolutely everywhere,” she says. “And it’s these single-use plastics where each one of us can start to make a difference; by consciously making a choice not to buy a product if it is wrapped in plastic. If there’s an option I will now buy the product without the plastic, but unfortunately, most of the time there isn’t that option.”

With the bit firmly between her teeth, Robyn contacted the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to find out whether there were any initiatives that she and her colleagues at Ray White Damerell Group could become involved with, not only on a personal level, but as a business too.

CEO Rachel Brown says one of SBN’s goals is to speed up the reduction of single-use plastics that enter into our physical environment by influencing and encouraging all the major brands to reduce their production and use of plastic.

Globally, it is estimated that only 2% of plastic makes it into closed-loop recycling.

Globally, it is estimated that only 2% of plastic makes it into closed-loop recycling.

“We need to make companies more responsible for the whole-life of the products they make and sell, and also to find alternatives to petroleum-based plastic,” she says. “Our message is that it’s not just about making a great looking product. It’s their responsibility to ensure that their product doesn’t end up polluting the environment. After all, no one wants their brand to be the one that’s washed up on the beach – that’s not a good look. That is not a proud moment.”

Show Us Your Lunchbox

Throughout July SBN is campaigning to get people to bring their own containers for take-away lunch. You don’t need a fab new container to get started - a spare kids' lunchbox, or even an old ice cream container will do the job just as well. Most takeaways and restaurants are happy to oblige. You can also look out for the SBN posters in participating food stores, declaring their commitment to the cause.

Get a photo of yourself using your container at a local eatery and connect it to SBN on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to be in to win prizes throughout July. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #showusyourlunchbox

 

   

10 Alarming Plastic Facts

  • Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
  • Over the last ten years the world has produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
  • Fifty percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
  • Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
  • The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world's oil production.
  • Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
  • The North Pacific Gyre is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
  • Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the human body. Some of the compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones, or have other potential human health effects.

10 Ways You Can Help

  • Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
  • Refuse single-use packaging, excess packaging, straws and other ‘disposable’ plastics.
  • Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at shops, supermarkets and take-out restaurants.
  • Reduce everyday plastics, such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
  • Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie/juice bar or café – it’s a great way to reduce the use of plastic lids and cups.
  • Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose PETE or HDPE, which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
  • Volunteer for an event, such as the Cox’s Bay Clean Up, organised every September by Ray White Damerell Group.
  • Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  • Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the nasty impacts of plastic pollution, and spread the word via social media.
  • Join July’s Show Us Your Lunchbox initiative, and get your colleagues and family to sign up, too!

Want to start to live plastic free? – checkout these alternatives to single-use plastic or download this handy chart

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