plastic trash

Plastic everywhere

by Andrew Tidswell, Blackwood Sustainable Communities Group
This article appeared on page 6 of Adelaide East Herald, 11 March 2021








Plastic is everywhere and it never goes away, it just breaks down into ever smaller pieces. Most of it ends up in landfill, the oceans, food chains or just blowing around; with less than 10% being recycled.

The SA Government like some other states has now banned a few single use plastic items. While governments are making a small start, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there is much more they can do to reduce the amount of plastic produced. One third of all plastics is in packaging and a third of all rubbish collected on Clean-Up Australia Day is single use plastic.

There is also much that we as consumers can do to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives. There are many alternative products now available that break down into benign substances or that last longer.

  • Take mesh produce bags to the supermarket for fruit and vegetables rather than the thin plastic bags, and re-use your old plastic bags

  • Meats in the deli section are wrapped in plastic-lined paper. Ask for them to be wrapped in paper, or separate the plastic off later and dispose in recycling

  • Use beeswax cloth covers instead of cling-wrap, or re-usable containers with lids

  • Buy soap bars rather than soft soap in disposable containers

  • Some supermarkets have replaced plastic produce bags with compostable ones. Ask yours to provide them

  • Many things are available in bulk from specialist shops and some supermarkets

  • Re-use plastic containers

  • Use re-usable drink bottles rather than buying endless single use plastic ones

  • Check out the SA Government, council, NGO and industry websites for good information, including Which Bin, Boomerang Alliance and Redcycle.

In a world where we often don’t believe that we can make a difference, this is one area where we really can make a big difference, including setting an example to others. Just make careful decisions when we buy things to get less plastic, and consider other options and alternatives.

While it is important to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the environment it can also be beneficial in making us more self-reliant and living more sustainably, as well as making healthier and safer choices for our families.

Take opportunities to advocate to politicians at all levels for more to be done.

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