Plastic isn't the (only) problem. We are.
Here's something to think about: Every plastic detergent bottle, container, & toothbrush that you've ever thrown in the rubbish bin is still on this earth. And they will be until well past your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandkids' lifetimes. That's about 20 generations and 400-500 years.
Given the material was invented in 1907, humans haven't even existed long enough to see the first piece of plastic degrade. And every year, Australians continue to produce 3 million tonnes of plastic yearly. This breaks down to an average of 130 kg of plastic used (and plastic waste produced) yearly.
We know what you're thinking. "Great, more disaster stats that leave you feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and unempowered." That's not our intention. These disaster stats tell us the reality of today, and the potential of tomorrow. If each Australian created 130kg of waste yearly, each Australian also has the power to prevent 130kg of waste from being created, yearly.
It’s clear that plastics have a valuable place in our lives - they have allowed us to make cheaper, lighter, safer and stronger materials. Computers, cell phones, and most of the lifesaving advances in medicine rely on plastics. Plastic has become a problem because we use it at every turn, even when it's completely unnecessary.
While we can't stop stressing the importance of recycling, the action you can make is the choice not to use plastic, wherever possible, in our everyday lives. The products that we buy out of a feeling of necessity — clothing (made from synthetic material), home cleaning products, shampoos, etc. — do not need to come in the form of synthetic plastics. Some products are completely unnecessary altogether, like straws and other single use items. Simply by cutting these items out of your life, that 130kg stat decreases, and what remains can be recycled.
We each have power to make one small change — by making that small change on a mass scale, we can help shift the earth back to equilibrium.
Comments are welcome! Tell us what small change you can make today to reduce your plastic waste.