Based on its key qualities of flexibility and durability plastic has always been seen as an essential commodity. All of the personal protective equipment that has saved lives during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted to me the extent to which plastic as a material is used. Plastics are also heavily used in fisheries, agriculture, renewable energy sources, transport, retail, and personal care products, so its safe to say that it directly or indirectly affects our daily life.
However, when I think of plastics, I also think about all of the plastic bags, bottles, packaging, cleaning products, and micro-plastics that merge with our beaches and marine ecosystems. Arguably, plastic has indeed made our lives more convenient, but plastic pollution is a huge problem, overflowing our landfills and infiltrating the ocean, it has come at a higher price than I believe we ever imagined.
One of the greatest threats to our environment is single-use plastic. Around 300 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide every year, and over 8 million of that enters the oceans annually, representing a huge threat to our ocean ecosystems.
At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak there seemed to be successes for the environment with social distancing measures keeping people off the roads and out of the skies. As a result carbon emissions were predicted to fall by 4% in 2020, compared to 2019.
However this is not the case when it comes to our oceans. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an estimated 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves used and disposed of globally, each month. Unfortunately, a lot of has and continues to end up in our oceans.
One of the main issues with gloves and masks ending up in our oceans is that they can easily be mistaken for jellyfish. Also birds and other marine life can easily get entangled in the masks elastic holds. One of the short term solutions I've adopted is wearing a reusable face mask, but it is crazy to think how many medical masks are now floating in our seas.
Additionally, 2020 became the year of disinfecting. As we witnessed the demand for disinfectant and sanitiser sky rocket, we consequently experienced increased solutions covered in plastic packaging, all of which were intended to be discarded after a single use.
ekologik offers the complete sustainable cleaning solution. The Virucidal Disinfectant Cleaner refill has been tested and proven to kill coronaviruses, including the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) and conforms to the latest British standards BS EN14476:2013:A2:2019 relating to the virucidal activity of disinfectants, with a 5 minute contact time.
Considering that the oceans have been partially impacted by last year's surge in single-use alternatives, I have partnered with Surfers Against Sewage. 2% of every sale goes towards supporting them in their mission to eliminate plastic pollution in our oceans.