Every day, around 8 million pieces of plastics of every size, shape, and origin make their way into our oceans. Actually, almost three quarters (73%) of beach litter worldwide is plastic. This is certainly not breaking news for most of us. However, we are still quite far from a plastic-free life. If it seems hard to envision life without plastic, it is however not impossible… After all, plastic was only created early 20th century. It was quickly adopted by different industries for its low cost, easy to manufacture, and versatile. Over the last 50 years, the world plastic production has doubled, strongly encouraged by the “to go” culture, desire for convenience in our busy lives combined with an “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon.
The problem with our daily consumption of plastic is: plastic was made so well by us (aren’t we the best after all?) that it takes hundreds of years to break down into microparticles full of toxins. It potentially hurts wildlife in the process and certainly pollutes the environment. More and more businesses are reacting to this crisis and trying to find solutions. For this, they are looking into what we were doing before plastic existed: milk bottle deposit return schemes, bulk shop concepts and the list goes on.
While the big dogs of the main industries try to find viable solutions to this crisis, we keep accumulating plastic in our landfills, in our river ways and ultimately, in our oceans. We can all act to reduce our plastic consumptions. A good starting point is to introduce the 8 steps followed during #PlasticFreeJuly into your daily life.
As the title from a recent Patagonia film (Artifishal) says, “the road to extinction is paved with good intentions“. Because we are massive Patagonia fans, and also because it feels good to act on things you believe in, we recently applied step number three of our guide (Clean up) and organised a Surfdome canal litter clean-up in east London. For this, we teamed up with the Milk Float on the river Lea.
On top of their normal canoe renting and SUP session activity, The Milk Float is also a keen player when it comes to preserving the canal waterways clean.
Some of the usual culprits were: lighters, plastic bags, plastic bottles, and food packaging.
Who says you need to live on the beach to do a litter pick-up? The litter which does not end in a recycling centre or landfill ends up in our rivers, which leads to the oceans. It actually often starts in cities, because of people littering, but also because of overflowing bins combined with wind and an “out of sight out of mind” attitude. Cities, and especially the ones with rivers and canals – where the litter gets trapped – are great places to pick litter. Check out how you can get involved in a litter clean-up around east London and other areas with the following groups: Active 360 in Paddington, Moo canoes in Hackney, Plastic Patrol and #2minutebeachclean UK wide.
Prevention is better than cure. That is why at Surfdome – as part of the Internet Fusion group – we take actions towards our plastic consumption, optimise our packaging system, reduce our carbon footprint, use renewable energy and much more. Click here to check the full scope of our efforts to protect the planet and places we love.