Plastic waste has a harmful effect on ocean life. Since the end of Blue Planet II, it seems as though this is really starting to hit home. From albatrosses all the way to whales, plastic waste effects every aspect of ocean life. Microbeads are killing fish, plastic pollution is killing baby birds, and plastic-polluted milk is killing baby whales. It may seem shocking, but it’s the truth. The fragile ocean eco-systems cannot survive if we carry on mindlessly polluting it the waters the way we do.
The ocean-orientated programme narrated by David Attenborough highlighted the negative effects of human-produced plastic waste. From the wildlife to the quality of the water itself, plastic has a detrimental effect on the entire ocean ecosystem. The majority of plastic that pollutes water on earth is single-use plastic. As such, inspired by Blue Planet II, the BBC- the production company responsible for Blue Planet II, have just announced a crackdown on all single-use plastic by 2020.
Single-use plastic is common in the workplace. Plastic cups, cutlery, straws and much more can only be used once. These items are used, then disposed of by employees, and constitute a large proportion of plastic waste that pollutes our oceans. These products may provide a cheap, easy way for staff to consume beverages and food, but they are extremely bad for the environment. This is primarily due to their non-recyclable nature.
Often in the workplace, staff are not informed, or not provided with proper recycling points. Even worse than though, sometimes these single-use plastic items are not able to be recycled. Coffee cups, for example, are made up of plastic, and also cardboard. This combination of materials makes them hard to separate and break down. Only 4% of all coffee cups are actually recycled.
To help those lacking education on recycling – ensure there are proper recycling points around the workplace. Also ensure there are posters encouraging people to recycle, and if possible introduce recycling initiatives. A great way to reduce the use of single-use plastics is to introduce glasses instead of plastic cups or bottles. This is simple and effective – it encourages your staff to stay hydrated, thus keeping productivity at a high, while also combatting plastic waste. Here at Billi, we produce branded glass bottles which provide the perfect alternative to single-use plastic ones.
Another element of plastic waste you can target are plastic straws and cutlery. Research biodegradable straws to cut down on single-use ones. For cutlery, ensure you have a nice, clean kitchen area where staff can keep and store their own set from home. You may think that washing up the cutlery would be more damaging to the environment, but not with a Billi tap. Our taps provide hot water at the touch of a button and use a fraction of the energy required to heat water traditionally. Use our green calculator to find out just how much you could be saving.
The BBC is the largest broadcaster in the UK. For them to be making a statement such as this regarding plastic waste will hopefully encourage other big businesses to do the same. The broadcaster is scrapping plastic cups and cutlery by the end of 2018 and says this will end the use of 2 million plastic cups by visitors and staff a year. Many BBC sites have already begun the process to reduce plastic waste, with certain sites replacing plastic with glasses.
Tony Hall, BBC director general, said: “Like millions of people watching Blue Planet II, I was shocked to see the avoidable waste and harm created by single-use plastic. We all need to do our bit to tackle this problem, and I want the BBC to lead the way.” He then went on to say, “Scrapping throwaway plastic cups and cutlery is the first step, and with our plan, I hope we can have a BBC free of single-use plastic altogether.”
Leading the way may be exactly what the BBC is doing. Smaller initiatives have been introduced by other big chains and brands such as Jamie Olivers, Leon and Costa Coffee. Mainly, there have been petitions that have sparked these changes, but at least businesses are listening. After shocking videos of marine life that had swallowed straws circulated on social media last year, many eateries, bars and coffee shops made changes by removing straws. Simple, conscious changes by the few will encourage the masses to do the same. By encouraging those with the power to make changes to reduce their plastic waste, hopefully, others will follow.
Driving awareness of marine plastic pollution has been a primary aim of Blue Planet II. From simple changes like changing plastic straws to biodegradable ones, all the way to introducing water fountains across the UK. Politicians, organisations and businesses are increasingly taking action to combat the pollution and do their bit to help.
Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The BBC are already a bit of a hero amongst those of us worried about the millions of tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year, as their Blue Planet II series did as much to raise awareness of this issue as years of campaigning. But awareness raising is only step one, so it’s really encouraging to see them moving on to taking action.”
With the BBC pledging a 2-year crackdown on plastic waste, it does lead us to wonder. Theresa May recently announced a 25-year plan to cut down on all avoidable plastic waste. How do these two plans match up? If a giant corporation like the BBC can honestly pledge such a reduction in waste in just 2 years, why can’t the government reduce their predicted time frame for the country?
With programmes like Blue Planet II really helping pave the way for marine pollution awareness, hopefully, the country will start making more conscious choices, and reduce their own plastic waste at home. Education, proper recycling points, and more biodegradable materials as plastic alternatives need to be introduced. This is the only way to protect our oceans.
Our pledge here at Billi is to help reduce mankind’s effect on the environment. This is why we aim to reduce our carbon footprint, use less water, and cut down on plastic. Our eco-friendly design-led products can help businesses transition into more sustainable ones. Not only will we save you money on energy and water bills, we can also help reduce your impact on the environment. For more information, contact one of our sales team today.