You may have read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s a mass of plastic which has gravitated towards a location between Hawaii and California. Don’t underestimate the size of this ‘mass’. To give you a steer, it’s roughly twice the size of France and weighs in at an eye watering 80,000 tonnes. Unsurprisingly, it’s getting bigger as we continue to deposit about 8 million tonnes of new plastic in our oceans every single year. Gulp.
Where to start with something like that? Do we send a flotilla out there to collect and recycle it? But then what happens to the 8 million tonnes of new plastic entering our waterways every year? That strategy would be a little like putting a sticking plaster on a broken leg.
Gone are the days where we can shrug our shoulders and absolve ourselves of responsibility. We all, me included, use plastic every single day. Sorry everyone but we are all part of the problem.
Unless we want to simply hospital pass this issue to our children then we’re going to require a sea change in our relationship with plastic. Sorry plastic, it’s been fun but we need to break up. It’s not you, it’s us.
The obvious question which arises is what on earth do we do about it? Cutting to the chase, the most effective and immediate solution is for all of us, industry and individuals, to reduce the amount of plastic we use in the first place.
If you’re looking for ideas to kick off with then a great start would be to buy Martin Dorey’s book, No. More. Plastic. It gives lots of insight into some simple steps that we can take to make a difference. Good ideas from using loose leaf tea (did you know tea bags contain plastic?) to simply avoiding supermarket items that are excessively packaged, or where the packaging is not readily recycled. If you’re looking to have an immediate impact on your and your family’s footprint, start there.
Organisations like the New Plastics Economy are highlighting the issue with their #linein thesand campaign to tackle the problem at source – directly with the manufacturers. So far 250 businesses, governments and other organisations have signed up to a global commitment to ‘Eliminate, Innovate, Circulate’.
Closer to home, recycling is obviously vital for dealing with plastic waste, but unfortunately our recycling systems in the UK aren’t able to deal with the sheer amount we’re producing. It also doesn’t help that the world of recycling is still marred with confusion.
Our team is embarking on a campaign to try and make sense of the sometimes confusing world of recycling. What can we put in our recycle bin? Why do manufacturers make things where the bottle can be recycled but the lid can’t? Where do the contents of our recycling bins really go, and what issues are caused by us not recycling properly?
We want to shine a light on the recycling world to show you some of the good things already happening, but also highlighting the distance that we still need to travel. So keep an eye on this blog for lots of inside info on recycling, and how you can recycle more consciously and effectively to make a real impact.
We are always actively looking to invest in businesses aiming to tackle our plastic problem. This could be helping to build new plastics recycling facilities (currently we send 15 million tonnes of recyclable material abroad every year) or could be helping businesses to develop biodegradable alternatives to plastic, also known as bioplastics.
We want to galvanise UK investors to help us solve some of the problems that affect all of us every day. At Earthworm we truly believe that socially responsible investment can help us solve some of the problems our children will have to face in the future if we do nothing. Ask yourself, what sort of a legacy would you like to leave them?