Close Welcome writers, influencers and dreamers, make the world a greener place
Register here
Forgot password
Forgot password
or
or

Close
Close For sustainability news hunters! The WhatsOrb newsletter!

Receive monthly the newest updates about sustainability from influencers and fellow writers. Cutting edge innovations and global environmental developments.

Close For sustainability news hunters! The WhatsOrb newsletter!

Receive monthly the newest updates about sustainability from influencers and fellow writers. Cutting edge innovations and global environmental developments.

Close Reset password
your profile is 33% complete:
33%
Update profile Close
Close WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-Change

For writers, influencers and dreamers who want to make the world a greener place.

WhatsOrb reaches monthly about 28.000 thousand visitors who want - like you - to make the world a greener place. Share your expertise and all can benefit.

Become an influencer and write and share sustainable news and innovations globally
Are you a writer or do you have ideas about sustainability which you want to share? Register and share your green knowledge and news. WhatsOrb offers you global exposure for your article.

If your article meets certain standards, you receive promotional gains like Facebook promotions and Google Ads advertising.

Waste plastic addiction is out of control  how can we consume less | Upload Household

Plastic Addiction Is Out Of Control. How Can We Consume Less

Share this post
by: Hans van der Broek
plastic addiction is out of control  how can we consume less | Upload

If we really want to solve this problem, we need to start with our daily habits and (reducing) consumption of this material. I know this isn’t the answer people want, but it’s the inconvenient truth.

Plastic Addiction Is Out Of Control. Where can we find plastic particles?

  • Our air, water and salt are contaminated by plastic and the impact on our health is unknown.
  • Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show. 
  • Studies show that even water that has undergone filtration contains plastic. It is a ubiquitous contaminant.
  • Tap water around the world is contaminated with tiny plastic fibres and other pilot studies have revealed microplastics in beer, sugar, salt and honey, as well as in seafood, in the air in cities and in homes.
  • The impact on health of this apparently pervasive pollution is unknown, though microplastics do harm some marine life and scientists are calling for urgent research.

Microplastics, where do they come from?

The biggest sources are synthetic clothing and dust from tyres and road markings. But all the millions of tonnes of plastic released each year eventually break down in the environment into tiny pieces.Can I avoid consuming microplastics, say by filtering water?
"We can’t filter ourselves out of this mess," says Sherri Mason, at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who conducted the tap water analyses. "Our study indicated that even water which undergoes filtration still has plastic. It is a ubiquitous contaminant, so if we really want to solve this problem, we need to start with our daily habits and (reducing) consumption of this material. I know this isn’t the answer people want, but it’s the inconvenient truth."

Reduce my use of plastic

As huge numbers of plastic fibres are released during every wash of synthetic clothes, choosing sustainable, natural fibre clothing is a good start, says Mason. Using reusable water bottles and avoiding plastic straws are also good steps, says Laura Grant, from the UK’s Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management: "Prevention is the best answer – to not use plastic in the first place."Plastic bag taxes across the UK have already led to billions of single-use bags not being used and a forthcoming ban on microbeads in personal hygiene products will also help a little.

Recommended: Plastic Waste Everywhere! Is Any Of My Plastic Out There?

Can I avoid washing millions of plastic fibres down the drain every week?

Some fabrics are much worse than others, with acrylic the biggest shedder, says Plymouth University’s Imogen Napper, who did the first research on the topic. A standard load of acrylic clothes shed 729,000 fibres, with polyester shedding 496,000 and cotton-polyester mixes shedding 138,000. "There is room for improvement in the filters on washing machines," she says, though finer filters risk getting clogged more often. But start-up innovators are beginning to tackle the issue, with the Cora Ball claiming to snag the fibres in the drum, while the GuppyFriend washing bag aims to contain them. Handwashing won’t really help, Napper says: "The fibres are still going to be there."
One study found that a fleece jacket can shed up to 250,000 fibres per wash. Natural fibre clothing would decrease the amount of plastic fibres entering our water. 

 


                                         Microfibers and How to Avoid Them | Fashion and the Environment
                                           Plastic Addiction Is Out Of Control. How Can We Consume Less

Could all plastic be done away with?

Not at the moment. Some packaging is needed, especially for food, which would spoil more quickly without it and add to the food waste problem. So there’s a balance, says Linda Crichton at Wrap, but people should complain to retailers about over-packaging and much more plastic needs to be recycled – currently it’s just 15%.

Can all plastics be recycled?

In theory, yes. Most important, says Crichton, is the message about bottles: “If it is plastic and bottle shaped it can be recycled.” That means shampoo and bleach bottles, as well as drinks and milk bottles, she says, with 97% of local authorities accepting them. Tubs, pots and trays are more complicated and Crichton says people in the UK should use the postcode locator on the RecycleNow website to find out about their area. She also says some supermarkets now collect thin plastics, such as bags and wraps, that are otherwise hard to recycle. In Germany, consumers get a small refund when returning a plastic bottle. More than 98% of plastic bottles are returned. 
Boy recycling plastic bottle germany
A boy recycles a plastic bottle in an automatic bottle bank vending machine inside a supermarket in Leichlingen

What about a deposit return scheme for bottles?

About 400 plastic bottles are sold every second in the UK but only half are recycled. But in Germany, where people get a small refund on returning a bottle, more than 98% are returned. Scotland is now introducing a scheme and there is growing pressure for the whole UK to follow suit. But the widescale return of glass milk bottles could be tricky, says Crichton: “I am one of the few people who still gets their milk in glass bottles but a lot of that infrastructure has disappeared.”

How else can I stop plastic polluting the environment?

Making sure rubbish doesn’t get blown away by the wind is a simple but important step, says Grant, as this causes a surprisingly large amount of plastic litter. That means closing bin lids and tying bags properly. There’s also the big issue of plastic fibres from clothing.

What should I demand of politicians for the future?

Plenty. Household recycling rates in England have flatlined at 44% in recent years, so local authorities need to increase funding and ambition. A lot of research is needed on the impacts of microplastics and governments must then regulate or incentivise so the worst are better managed or replaced with new materials. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have already mandated that short-life plastics must be made from biodegradable materials, meaning even if they end up in the environment, they will eventually disappear.

Before you go!

Recommended: Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?

Messange
You
Share this post

Hans van der Broek, founder

Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)

 

Hans van der Broek, founder

Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)

 

Plastic Addiction Is Out Of Control. How Can We Consume Less

If we really want to solve this problem, we need to start with our daily habits and (reducing) consumption of this material. I know this isn’t the answer people want, but it’s the inconvenient truth. Plastic Addiction Is Out Of Control. Where can we find plastic particles? Our air, water and salt are contaminated by plastic and the impact on our health is unknown. Sea salt around the world is contaminated by plastic, studies show.  Studies show that even water that has undergone filtration contains plastic. It is a ubiquitous contaminant. Tap water around the world is contaminated with tiny plastic fibres and other pilot studies have revealed microplastics in beer, sugar, salt and honey, as well as in seafood, in the air in cities and in homes. The impact on health of this apparently pervasive pollution is unknown, though microplastics do harm some marine life and scientists are calling for urgent research. Microplastics, where do they come from? The biggest sources are synthetic clothing and dust from tyres and road markings. But all the millions of tonnes of plastic released each year eventually break down in the environment into tiny pieces.Can I avoid consuming microplastics, say by filtering water? "We can’t filter ourselves out of this mess," says Sherri Mason, at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who conducted the tap water analyses. "Our study indicated that even water which undergoes filtration still has plastic. It is a ubiquitous contaminant, so if we really want to solve this problem, we need to start with our daily habits and (reducing) consumption of this material. I know this isn’t the answer people want, but it’s the inconvenient truth." Reduce my use of plastic As huge numbers of plastic fibres are released during every wash of synthetic clothes, choosing sustainable, natural fibre clothing is a good start, says Mason. Using reusable water bottles and avoiding plastic straws are also good steps, says Laura Grant, from the UK’s Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management: "Prevention is the best answer – to not use plastic in the first place."Plastic bag taxes across the UK have already led to billions of single-use bags not being used and a forthcoming ban on microbeads in personal hygiene products will also help a little. Recommended:  Plastic Waste Everywhere! Is Any Of My Plastic Out There? Can I avoid washing millions of plastic fibres down the drain every week? Some fabrics are much worse than others, with acrylic the biggest shedder, says Plymouth University’s Imogen Napper, who did the first research on the topic. A standard load of acrylic clothes shed 729,000 fibres, with polyester shedding 496,000 and cotton-polyester mixes shedding 138,000. "There is room for improvement in the filters on washing machines," she says, though finer filters risk getting clogged more often. But start-up innovators are beginning to tackle the issue, with the Cora Ball claiming to snag the fibres in the drum, while the GuppyFriend washing bag aims to contain them. Handwashing won’t really help, Napper says: "The fibres are still going to be there." One study found that a fleece jacket can shed up to 250,000 fibres per wash. Natural fibre clothing would decrease the amount of plastic fibres entering our water.    {youtube}                                          Microfibers and How to Avoid Them | Fashion and the Environment                                            Plastic Addiction Is Out Of Control. How Can We Consume Less Could all plastic be done away with? Not at the moment. Some packaging is needed, especially for food, which would spoil more quickly without it and add to the food waste problem. So there’s a balance, says Linda Crichton at Wrap, but people should complain to retailers about over-packaging and much more plastic needs to be recycled – currently it’s just 15%. Can all plastics be recycled? In theory, yes. Most important, says Crichton, is the message about bottles: “If it is plastic and bottle shaped it can be recycled.” That means shampoo and bleach bottles, as well as drinks and milk bottles, she says, with 97% of local authorities accepting them. Tubs, pots and trays are more complicated and Crichton says people in the UK should use the postcode locator on the RecycleNow website to find out about their area. She also says some supermarkets now collect thin plastics, such as bags and wraps, that are otherwise hard to recycle. In Germany, consumers get a small refund when returning a plastic bottle. More than 98% of plastic bottles are returned.  A boy recycles a plastic bottle in an automatic bottle bank vending machine inside a supermarket in Leichlingen What about a deposit return scheme for bottles? About 400 plastic bottles are sold every second in the UK but only half are recycled. But in Germany, where people get a small refund on returning a bottle, more than 98% are returned. Scotland is now introducing a scheme and there is growing pressure for the whole UK to follow suit. But the widescale return of glass milk bottles could be tricky, says Crichton: “I am one of the few people who still gets their milk in glass bottles but a lot of that infrastructure has disappeared.” How else can I stop plastic polluting the environment? Making sure rubbish doesn’t get blown away by the wind is a simple but important step, says Grant, as this causes a surprisingly large amount of plastic litter. That means closing bin lids and tying bags properly. There’s also the big issue of plastic fibres from clothing. What should I demand of politicians for the future? Plenty. Household recycling rates in England have flatlined at 44% in recent years, so local authorities need to increase funding and ambition. A lot of research is needed on the impacts of microplastics and governments must then regulate or incentivise so the worst are better managed or replaced with new materials. Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have already mandated that short-life plastics must be made from biodegradable materials, meaning even if they end up in the environment, they will eventually disappear. Before you go! Recommended:  Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?
Get updates on environmental sustainability in your mailbox every month.