Plastic Pollution; The heart-breaking reality

The Time Is Now…

For those of you who watched the BBC’s Blue Planet II you will understand why we feel strongly about raising this issue on our blog once again. Sir David Attenborough’s documentary movingly highlighted the growing problem of ocean waste. The episode investigated the detrimental effects that plastics have on the health of our oceans. They pulled on the heart strings of viewers by showing a whale carrying its dead newborn around – killed by human activity in relation to the chemicals found in plastic waste.

Unfortunately we have seen countless videos on social media revealing how plastics are destroying the lives of helpless sea creatures; including a video of a plastic straw being pulled from the nostril of a turtle. Fortunately however, on some parts conscious efforts are being made; for example pub chain JD Wetherspoon has stopped automatically putting plastic straws in their drinks. They vow to only use biodegradable paper straws from January 2018. By ending this “wasteful” practice they claim to stop 70 million plastic straws entering landfill or making their way into the world’s oceans each year.

Image curtesy of BBC Blue Planet II

Similarly since the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags in England; figures suggest the number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers has plummeted by more than 85%. … definitely a move in the right direction.

Make a change…

The point of this blog post however, is not to solely highlight the negativity surrounding the problem but to focus on the creative and innovative solutions to help solve it. In early 2016 we blogged about Ocean Waste Inspiring Beautiful Design ; an insight into projects that recycle or up-cycle waste found in the ocean. Again we want to encourage and say thank you to the designers and companies within the Industry contributing to the solution of reducing plastic waste, and exploring ways to recycle it. Photo by Jackie Nuñez, The Last Plastic Straw.

Here are a couple of inspiring, multidisciplinary and collaborative projects that aim to raise awareness and contribute to the research of prevention…

Parley for the Ocean is an initiative where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the ocean. They have recently teamed up with well-known fashion brand Stella McCartney and collaborated with Adidas to create a collection of swimwear that is made from up-cycled fishing nets and debris. They have also updated one of their classic shoe designs from the 1990s with yarns made from ocean waste plastic.

Within the Interiors industry designer Brodie Neill creates the Gyro Table. The Australian based designer constructed the table from tiny pieces of plastic that have been salvaged from beaches around the world, including Tasmania, Hawaii and Cornwall. From a trend perspective we have talked a lot about terrazzo as a desirable material for use within interior design and this product not only fits the visual aesthetic for terrazzo but also greatly benefits the environment.

From fashion, furniture and now to tableware, Yavez Anthonio has created Umi Hashi for his graduation project. Being an avid sushi lover Yavez aimed to reduce ocean plastic by educating sushi lovers all over the world; making them aware of the threat of micro plastic. He created chopsticks that are made entirely out of plastic collected from the ocean; and they look fantastic.

Collectively we can work together to reverse the effects of plastic pollution before the world’s oceans are destroyed forever. As consumers we need to be more conscious of the plastics we use and mindful of the packaging from the things we buy and dispose of.

Ultimately you need to ask yourself … are you doing enough?

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