Not so fantastic plastic

If you’ve heard that Barbie Girl theme song, then you might think that life in plastic is fantastic, but I’m here to assure you that it is not.

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This post serves as a reminder of the devastation plastic causes, and I have to warn you that some images throughout this post may be alarming.

WARNING: CONTENT BELOW MAY BE DISTURBING OR DISTRESSING

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Whether it be from ingesting plastic or being entangled in it, the bottom line is that plastic is deadly. If you’ve been following this campaign then by now you would know that plastic is responsible for the death of over one hundred thousand sea mammals every year, and in excess of one million seabirds. In fact, over 40% of all seabirds are believes to have ingested plastic. That’s not to mention the numerous species and eco systems at risk because of it.

 

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Almost no life exists in some areas of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area amassing to double the size of the state of Texas due to the poisoning and destruction caused by enormous amounts of rubbish.

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When it comes to thinking about how bad plastic really is, the real turning point for me is the footage of the turtle crying in pain as a plastic straw is extracted from its nostril. I have shared the video on Facebook previously, but for those who haven’t seen it, you can find the short version of the video here.

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You can see the enormous amount of pain this innocent creature is in as a result of mankind’s negligence. The turtle has rightly become the poster-child for the abolishment of plastic straws and rightly so – it shows the real damage. Plastic is designed to last, so much so that is will by far outlast any humans time on earth. In the last 10 years humans have produced more plastic than in history, and the amount only continues to grow. Globally, systems need to be put in place to stop the devastation caused, but until then, we all need to do our part individually to minimize our own impact on the earth.

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Next time you consider using disposable plastics, or see a friend or relative drop, forget or wrongly dispose of some, think of these images and do something about it. Raising awareness of the issue is an essential part of creating change, and its something every one of us can do!

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REPOST: What types of plastics are safe to use? — No Poly No Folly

Ever wondered about the different types of plastic? What is safe to use? What isn’t safe and why? Well then check out this post by No Poly no Folly! 

 

Everyone produces about 2 kilos of garbage each day. Imagine having to wear that much garbage everyday! It’s easy to consume and toss out garbage and not think about it again, but it affects us in almost everyway. The garbage will end up in landfill where it will produce greenhouse gases, contributing to […]

via What types of plastics are safe to use? — No Poly No Folly

Organisations against plastic pollution

There are numerous organisations against plastic pollution, large and small, but in this post we’re bringing you SOME of our favourites! Follow these to keep up with the latest information on everything ocean!


Take 3 for the Sea

Take three for the Sea is a non profit organisation that was started in Sydney and has teamed up with environmentalist Tim Silverwood. They’re fighting to reduce plastic pollution and educate people about the devastation it causes!

Why we love them: well the basic premise is to encourage people to each pick up at least three pieces of litter from around coastal areas and waterways to prevent it entering the ocean – such a simple yet effective idea!


Ocean Conservancy

They’re an organisation that educates people about challenges surrounding the ocean and empower people around the globe to take action by advocating for sustainable practices and solutions.

Why we love them? Well, they advocate against straws and they give advice, tips and examples as to how you can take action for the ocean!


WWF

All of you would have heard of WWF, and for a good reason! They tackle conservation issues around the world both above and below the water!

But why are they on our list? Well they ran this amazing campaign with images of plastic underwater made to look like sea creatures – for instance check out this image:





The Seabin project

Designed by Australian surfers as a mechanism that can be used to clean up marinas, the Seabin is literally the bin of the sea. It collects all that unwanted floating plastic and sucks it into the bins, helping to keep the surface of the water trash free! They’re currently in development, but it’s an exciting project to follow and I hope we see them widespread soon! Why we love them? Any invention that helps reduce plastic pollution is definitely a win in our books!


One Less Straw

You guessed it, One Less Straw is all about raising awareness of plastic pollution – especially straws – encouraging people to take their pledge to use even just one less straw. 500 millions straws are used every day in the US. The campaign has gone worldwide and they’re very active on Twitter and they have a website and Facebook too. They’ve partnered with numerous organisations in their fight against plastic pollution. Why their in our top picks? Well, we’re fighting for the same cause!


Ocean Wire

Ocean Wire is a fantastic resource for information about all things ocean! We love it – they share current and relevant information, news and events! 

We love them for that exact reason, be sure to follow their Twitter to keep up with the latest!

Be sure to check them all out and follow their social media sites to keep up with the latest!

Be rewarded for reuse!

Exactly as the title states: you can be rewarded for using reusable items! Oh, and reduce your plastic consumption and benefit the environment – which is what were all about. Our last post was entirely straw focused, so we will give you a little break, and this time we will focus on… Coffee Cups! You might remember in a previous post I put up a photo okeepcup-brew-cork-12oz-duof some cute reusable coffee cups (yes you can bet I ordered them online right after posting!). In case you for forgot, here they are!

Well, the fantastic news is that around Sydney there is a lot of cafes getting on board and offering a reusable cup discount!

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 This is where you SHOULD be buying your coffee! 

 Erskineville: Café Shenkin (50c off), Fleetwood Macchiato(50c off), The Hive Bar (20% off)

 Surry Hills: BangBang Expresso (50c off), The Sandwich Shop (20c off), The Stables Café (5% off)

Alexandria: The Copper Mill (50c off) 

Darlinghurst: The Royal (50c off)

Balmain: Bar Contessa (50c off)

Potts Point: Café DOV (50c off)

Ultimo: 80 Bay (20c off)

Newtown: Black Star Pastry (50c off)

Annandale: Lemonia (50c off)

Chippendale: Toby’s Estate (20c off)

Sydney: Town Hall Café (20c off)

 Marrickville: (50c off)

That list is certainly not conclusive either! Support companies that support the environment and reuse – and save yourself some money while you’re at it!

Lets work it out…

If you bought a coffee every day of your working week, as many people do, and went to any of the places on that list that give a 50 cent discount each time, then in four weeks time you would have saved $10. That adds up. If you do that 10 months of the year, that’s over $100 that you’ve saved yourself with basically no effort!

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Also, if your current local coffee shop doesn’t offer these discounts – it doesn’t hurt to suggest it to them. Everyone loves a discount, and a promotion like might even encourage more customers while being a socially responsible business move… PLUS – you win and so does the environment!

Eco friendly straws

There are a variety of eco friendly alternatives to Plastic Straws! There are these totally chic glass straws, stainless steel straws, bamboo straws and paper straws. I heard that groan, but you can take it back, because you’ll be pleased to know that they’ve come a long way since those flimsy and thin paper straws that easily become soggy. No really, paper straws have been taken to a whole new level. In this blog post, I’ll introduce you to these funky, eco-friendly and 100% fabulous straws!

 

Stainless Steel Straws

Well firstly, if you own a stainless steel straw, it’s highly unlikely to end up in the ocean. Why? Well, its unlikely to be washed out of storm water drains, and if you’ve gone to the effort of buying and carrying around a stainless steel straw with you, your unlikely to dispose of it or bring it to the beach… all I can say about that is: hot metal!

BUT whether it’s for use home or out at your favorite brunch spot, stainless steel straws are ideal and so hipster/alternative/cool – you get the gist. The only downside is that (obviously) you have to wash them between uses, but if you ask me, it’s worth it… I’m sure the environment would say the same thing!

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Glass Straws

They’re pretty trendy and its no surprise why – they’re so chic. Although if you want my honest opinion about them… well, they’re just not practical to carry around. I’d love one to use at home where there is very little risk of it getting crushed or broken, but not to carry in my handbag. Knowing me I’d forget about it and drop the bag and it would break!

 BUT how cute is this? I’ll definitely be investing in some for home!

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Bamboo Straws
Natural bamboo straws, believe it or not, are reusable, biodegradable, and dishwasher safe. They can also last years if they’re looked after. Not to mention how good they would look in your cocktail!


 Paper straws

Last but definitely not least! Paper straws have come such a long way in recent times. To fix the issue of becoming soggy or losing shape, you can now get them much thicker than every before! Being twice as thick as standard straws means they retain their shape. Better yet they’re not only biodegradable but compostable too. They’ve even brought out bendable paper straws now too!

Did you know that some paper straws decompose in 35 days of use as opposed to hundreds of years for plastic straws? Seems like a no-brainer to me! Basically, they’re a win-win. They’re prettier than plastic straws, and so much better for the environment!

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 What would you choose?

5 simple ways to reduce your plastic impact

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By now you’re aware of the harm caused to the environment by plastic pollution and many of you have indicated that you want to reduce your own impact now that you’re more aware of the issue. So we’re here to help! In this post, we will discuss some simple ways you can reduce your environmental impact.

Let’s start with straws!

If you go to a restaurant or cafe and order a cold drink, request your drink without a straw – it’s as simple as just saying “no straw please” when you order! Like… Does your orange juice really need a straw? Alternatively, if you’ve ordered something like an iced chocolate or frappe and you simply can’t enjoy your drink without a straw, you still have some options! (Ideally in this instance you could just whip out that trendy stainless steel straw you have with you, but let’s assume you forgot it today)

  • Scan the counter

Often cafes and restaurants actually do have paper straws! Usually strategically positioned by the counter to make them look more Eco friendly (even when they give you a plastic one anyway!) and because their pretty patterns and colours make them nice to display. If you don’t see them, you can always ask – it’s worth a shot!

  • Use a spoon

I know, crazy. How dare I suggest a spoon can be used to stir your lemon lime and bitters or the chocolate, cream and ice cream into your milk! But if you happen upon a long spoon they are so ideal for scooping up those little smidges of ice cream left over… Trust me!

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Take away tea / coffee

Next time you hit up your favorite coffee stop, check out the cup you get! Not all take away coffee cups can be recycled! In fact, almost all can’t due to that thin plastic film around it. If they are, they’ll generally say that on them too. If not recyclable, biodegradable would be a good start. In some cases, your disposable coffee cup will outlast your time on earth! Consider that next time, but remember that even if the cup itself isn’t recyclable, the lids mostly are – recycle what you can!

Or better yet bring your own reusable cup 😉

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Take away food

Opt for food packaging that is the most eco friendly! That means: No Polystyrene packaging! Stay as far away from that as possible. Polystyrene is terrible for the environment – just avoid at all costs!

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Shopping bags

If you’re out clothes shopping, ask for a ‘large’ bag and try to fit as much of your days shopping as you can into one bag – and in the ideal world it will be fabric!

If its your grocery shopping, then Choose Canvas! Canvas bags are a durable, practical and much more environmentally friendly way to transport your shopping. Not only that but these days you can get plain, patterned, colorful and even personalized canvas bags. Keep a few in your car and the environment will thank you for it! On that note, make sure you check out the Choose Canvas campaign for more!

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Plastic bottles

Okay, so everyone uses them, and I’m not about to tell you to steer away from them completely. However, I will just say… BUY ONE YOU LIKE AND KEEP IT!

Shop around for the perfect bottle, the one that suits you – the right lid, right shape, and right size. Now, drink it. Okay got that, but here’s the catch: now you refill it, and can drink and refill and drink and refill and drink and refill and you get the point. Don’t just throw it out! And if it really is past its use by – please recycle it.

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Whats your tip?

Facts you didn’t know about plastic

We had such a fantastic response to our post ‘7 things that will SHOCK you about plastic’, so we’ve brought you yet another post containing facts you probably didn’t already know about plastic! These relatively useless facts can be used to slip into everyday conversations and make you seem like an undercover genius…

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The word ‘plastic’ actually comes from the Greek plastikos, and means “capable of being shaped and moulded” The term was introduced in 1925, approximately 100 years after the first chemist started working with natural rubber.

About 500 billion plastic bags are used across the globe every year

The Beijing subways allow travelers to use plastic bottles as a form of payment to encourage recycling.

A fleece jacket can be made from 25 recycled plastic drinks bottles… imagine how many fleece jackets the world could make!

 The first plastic was invented by Alexander Parkes in 1856 and was called Parkesine. The product was not very successful as it was found to be flammable and easily prone to cracking.

 Rwanda is the first country to ban plastic bags.

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Over the past 10 years, we have produced more plastic globally than in the past century.

Buried plastic materials can last for minimum of 700 years.

11% of Americans household waste is plastic, and 40% of it is plastic bottles.

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The U.S. annually creates over 9 billion plastic bottles. Around two thirds end up in landfills or incinerators.

44% of all seabirds have been documented as having plastic either inside or around their bodies

The Great Pacific Garbage patch is twice the size of Texas.

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Before WWII the most popular plastic was Bakelite and its close cousin Catalin. They were used everywhere, from children toys to the parts for large WWII bombers.

1050 milk cartons can be recycled into one 6-foot plastic park bench.

There is a species of fungus from the Amazon that feeds on plastic. It can live on plastic alone, and can do so without oxygen, potentially leading the way towards new techniques for bioremediation

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Do you have a random fact about plastic thats not on the list? We would love to hear it!

Other issues Under the Ocean: Part 2

In Part 1 we brought you a post about Shark Culling, and had a great response. This time, our focus shifts to another major ocean issue: Overfishing.

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Overfishing is another issue that haunts our waters. Fish are currently being sourced throughout the ocean at an unsustainable rate and figures indicate that over 85% of the world’s fish stocks are now fished up to full capacity, or are over-fished, additionally (According to the annual report on the state of Australia’s fish resources by the Commonwealth Government) 13.5% of fish stocks are overfished or are being fished too heavily, and the status of 28% is not known (source).

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Another negative effect of overfishing is Bottom trawling, which is the oceans version of deforestation. I’m sure you can imagine what this is like, but ill describe it to you anyway. Ships drag enormous nets weighing several tonnes across the seafloor, destroying coral and sensitive seafloor life in a bit to catch fish dwelling near the ocean floor.

Here are some facts from WWF

  • In 2013 around 93 million tonnes of fish were caught world-wide
  • Over just 40 years there has been a decrease recorded in marine species of 39%
  • Almost 30% of fish stocks commercially fished are over-fished
  • Over 60% of fish stocks are fully fished
  • Illegal and unregulated fishing constitutes an estimated 11-26 million tonnes (12-28%) of fishing world-wide

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If this trend continues, well, let’s just say there won’t be so many fish in the sea.

Under the Ocean has been in discussion with Error404 Fish about this issue, which is a campaign headed by Angela Kwan. The campaign is aimed to raise awareness of the issue of overfishing in Australia and is a fantastic resource for more information about overfishing, and what can and should be done. Make sure you jump on their petition to Ban Super Trawlers Permanently in Australia and support the cause!

For further insight into this issue be sure to read their blog, and check out their latest posts on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Other issues Under the Ocean: Part 1

While plastic accounts for 80% of ocean trash, is responsible for the death of millions of creatures, is a threat to ecosystems and even to our healthit is far from being the only crisis facing the ocean as a result of humans actions. While our primary concern is plastic waste, we are concerned with all issues under the ocean (pun intended). Over the next two posts I will be discussing two such issues: shark culling and overfishing.

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Shark culling is a major issue facing Australia’s oceans right now. Here at Under the Ocean we are excited to announce we have teamed up with Isabella Molinari from Cut The Cull to bring you this post.

Do you know what the actual chance of being attacked and killed by a shark is? Well, according to the Wildlife Museum the odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067. In a lifetime, you are more likely to die from fireworks (1 in 340,733), lightning (1 in 79,746), drowning (1 in 1,134), a car accident (1 in 84), stroke (1 in 24), or heart disease (1 in 5).

In fact, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, there are around 10 deaths per year attributable to sharks worldwide. On the other hand, do you know how many sharks are culled PER HOUR worldwide? Well, you might be surprised to find out it’s a whopping 11,417. That’s about 190 sharks a minute. Shockingly, 97% of sharks that were culled around Australia over a 12-month period were considered to be at some level of conservation risk. If culling continues at this rate sharks will soon be at risk of extinction!

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Some sharks are also killed indirectly, by – you guessed it – plastic. Often mistaken for food, sharks have been found to ingest plastic, some to fatal levels. Chemicals from the plastic pollution has also been found to poison the sharks, like many other ocean dwellers.

Cut the Cull are dedicated to raising awareness of shark culling in Australia and have been doing a fantastic job at it too. For more information and further interests make sure to visit their blog and follow their Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest information. To take a stand and literally help Australia literally ‘Cut the Cull’, be sure to sign their petition, which can be found here!

Check out this graphic showing the shocking reality of Shark Culling.

We would LOVE to hear your opinion, what do you think?

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-KF

7 things that will SHOCK you about plastic


Under the Ocean has searched far and wide to compile what we think are not just any facts, but a list of 7 things we think will really shock you about plastic.

1. 93% of Americans over the age of 6 test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical)

2. Plastic production uses eight percent of the world oil production.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling one ton of plastic conserves approximately 3.8 barrels of crude oil.

3. Virtually every piece of plastic ever produced still exists somewhere.

4. Plastic can cause acne for your pets

  • Porous plastic bowls allow bacteria to breed and multiply, causing an acne-like rash on a pet’s chin… we recommend ceramic or stainless steel bowls instead!

5. Plastic may not be vegan/vegetarian friendly

  • You probably didn’t realize that chicken fat is often added to the exterior of plastic bags to make them more slippery. But if you only use canvas bags you’re not totally safe yet, animal fats are also added to other plastic products to prevent them from sticking to metal machinery. 

6. Plastic waste travels more than you do

  • Yes that’s right, large distances over air and sea! Did you know Canadian plastic shopping bags have been found as far as Scotland?

7. Phthalates, a common toxin found in plastics that hold food, is known to shrink unborn baby’s penis if consumed during pregnancy

  • Beware!



What did you find the most alarming?