Look around you. Plastic is everywhere. Ever since the first plastic was patented in 1856, it has become a staple of our lives. Your mobile phone, laptop, tablet, clothes, cars and packaging for pretty much everything contain plastic. As it invades our modern, urban lives, the problem plastic also spills out into the natural environment, and despite us knowing and understanding the problem, the rates of global plastic production continues to rise year after year.
In the UK it is estimated that we throw away around 5 million tonnes of plastic every year, with only 29% recycled. That means around 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in landfill annually.
Chlorinated plastic left in landfill can release harmful chemicals into the soil, which then enters the ecosystem via groundwater. Animals that drink this water water can suffer serious harm. Other plastics in landfill often biodegrade very quickly due to the many micro organisms found at these sites. This releases methane into the environment, a very powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
But what about the oceans? The problem of plastic pollution in our waters was highlighted by the BBC series Blue Planet 2. In harrowing footage we saw fish swimming around plastic bottles on the sea bed, beaches littered with plastic flip flops and packaging and discarded plastic causing fatal injuries to young albatrosses, showing us the effects our actions are having on the worlds oceans.
We are all responsible. At Natural Essentoils we produce products in plastic packaging, making us part of the problem. We need to become part of the solution. But what is the answer?
Well the obvious one is recycling. All Natural Essentoils products are packaged in recyclable PET plastic and we encourage our customers to recycle. Almost every council in the UK offers kerbside recycling. It really couldn't be any easier for you to do your bit. We often hear excuses such as “I don't have time”, “it doesn't make any difference to me right now” and “I can't be bothered”. Don't let ignorance and laziness be your excuse for damaging the planet for future generations.
Whilst we actively encourage recycling at Natural Essentoils, and always will, we still don't think thats enough. Which is why we are currently developing a new way to produce some of our products which will eliminate the need for any plastic packaging at all. We are really excited by this and are confident of being able to tell you more within a matter of weeks. In the meantime, take a look at some online resources such as the amazing Plastic Pollution Coalition to find out more about the problem of plastic pollution and the ways in which YOU can take action.
And if you aren't currently recycling your household waste, log on to www.gov.uk/recycling-collections to find out what recycling services are available in your area.