Why is this important?
The biggest problem associated with plastic is that it is very easy to produce, but very hard to break down. The most protested plastic items are those that are used only to store another item for a short time before beginning a long life on its own as pollution: Bags, bottles, and wrappers. It has been estimated that approximately 10% of discarded plastic ends up in the ocean (Greenpeace 2010), most of which ends up in the 5 Gyres. The 5 Gyres are enormous floating garbage patches in the Ocean that are responsible for the death of thousands of marine creatures every year. The Gyres also churn the discarded plastic into a liquid “soup” that enters the food chain as it is consumed by various animals and in some cases is, in turn, consumed by humans in seafood.
What is being done to stop this?
There are so many projects going on right now to combat this issue that it is hard to keep up with everything:
The Plastic Pollution Coalition has taken on the mission to “end global dependence on disposable plastic” through the use of various tactics. This mission has gone viral as has made many significant achievements towards their goal:
Plasticantidote.com is the official store of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. This is the perfect place to find solutions for all your plastic vices, from stainless steel straws and lunch boxes to the Green Garmento and the plastic free instruction booklet.
Plastic Free Campuses is a program to help reduce waste from educational faculties around the world. With now over 120 participating campuses, the program has really taken off to make a big impact.
Corporate participation is one of the keys to the success of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Dispenser Amenities included, the organization has a very long list of corporate sponsors and celebrity endorsements/speakers.
5 Gyres is a team of Marine Scientists, researchers, writers, and speakers who are dedicated to communicating the impact of plastic pollution on the world’s oceans. They regularly sail through the Five Gyres collecting samples and data for their research which they then share with the world. They have also hosted many publicity events to raise awareness about the plastic pollution problem. For example, their Waste to Waves exhibit where a team from 5 Gyres sailed over 2600 miles across the North Pacific Gyre on a JUNKcraft built from plastic bottles they collected from the ocean.
Sustainable Travel International is a “Global non-profit and thought leader in sustainable tourism”. They are not solely focused on the reduction of plastic pollution alone, but instead are helping to reduce all forms of pollution associated with tourism and travel by working with businesses and destinations to help reduce their carbon footprint.
They are currently displaying Dispenser Amenities’ partner, eco-tourism giant – Royal Caribbean Criuses Ltd. as their featured sustainability partnership on their website.
What can I do to help?
If you are currently using refillable dispensers in your hospitality location, then you have taken at least one step towards eliminating the waste of small plastic amenity bottles. Supporting any of the organizations mentioned in this article will certainly be helping to make a difference as well. Also, when going about your daily routine, it’s always best to stay mindful of wasted plastic. For some great tips on how to live without plastic check out www.myplasticfreelife.com.