When I learned that more plastic has been produced in the last 10 years than in the previous century, I asked myself “When did we become the ‘plastic’ generation?”
Plastic waste is collecting in our oceans and it is increasing at an alarming rate, and sadly there are no signs of it stopping! We are now producing nearly 330 million metric tons of new plastic every year and half of this is only designed for single-use.
As my eyes were opened to the issues of plastic waste and as I began to rethink my own plastic lifestyle, it became shockingly apparent to me how pervasive plastic is and how we have become blind to its over use. From bags to cups, straws and lids, our use of plastic is endless and often unnecessary.
Pre-peeled garlic and orange segments in plastic tubs line the shelves of my local supermarket. The most shocking thing I have seen at the store was a plastic wrapped coconut. Nature provides a shell or a skin, yet we take it off and wrap it in a petroleum based, man-made, indestructible material. All in the name of “sanitation” and “convenience”.
It is estimated that over 2.86-billion bags are used annually in Canada – 200 for every one of us! It takes 250 milliliters of petroleum oil and three litres of water to make a one litre plastic water bottle. And 4,000 plastic water bottles are used every second! Single use plastics have an average use span of only 12 minutes.
I truly believe that we need to rethink our use of plastic. We need to consider whether the plastic we accept daily is destined for “single use” and most importantly, is it “essential” that we accept it? I have made it my mission to help by inspiring Canadians to “rethink plastic” and help end our acceptance of plastic as a risk-free, ‘disposable’ material of convenience and in turn, increase demand for alternatives to single-use plastics.
Canada is the world’s second largest country at around 10 million square kilometres in size so Plastic Oceans Foundation Canada was incorporated as a Federal Not for Profit in November 2016, to connect Canadians to a global problem by offering local solutions. We are educating and inspiring through the power of film and other media, as a central HUB, that connects Canadians to groups working across the country on solutions, whether that be alternatives to plastic or its recovery and recycling. It is only through awareness of the issue that people will begin to care and through easy access to the alternatives, that behaviour will begin to change.
Working together, we can tell the story of the issues of plastic pollution and celebrate all the solutions across different geographical locations and demographics in Canada, whilst continuously activating people to make changes in their own lives.