So just a few months months after the Chinese Plastic Waste Ban and the shocking scenes of plastic islands and animals injured by plastic in Blue Planet 2. Just how has the UK changed its approach to dealing with its plastic waste and how it is aiming to reduce the plastic pollution in the ocean and around the world?
How Bad Is The Plastic Waste Problem?
Just a few weeks after the Chinese Waste Import Ban was put in place, the effects were beginning to be felt up and down the country with recycling plants unable to keep up with the incredibly high volume of waste plastic.
As for ocean plastic, it is estimated that if we continue our current pollution rate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050. The scenes from Blue Planet 2 showed the British public just how bad this has become. In the video to the right, a visitor to Bali was on a diving trip to see Manta Rays when he came across this huge amount of plastic floating in the ocean. It was thought that no everywhere had been affect yet so there was time for us to change our ways and protect at least a few untouched landscapes. However pollutants were found in a 10km deep in the Mariana trench which is in the Pacific Ocean, meaning deep ocean is far from being a remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact place.
The threat isn't just to marine life either, a study done at a University in Belgium estimated that we as humans can eat up to 11,000 plastic fragments per year through seafood. So not only are we poisoning the life in our oceans but we are poisoning ourselves.
What Are Companies Doing To Tackle The Problem?
There has been added pressure on larger companies to remove their recyclable and excess plastic.
Iceland have certainly taken the lead and recent announced they ensure all of their own brand products were plastic free by 2023. Richard Walker (Iceland's Managing Director) said: "As it was technologically and practically possible to create less environmentally harmful alternatives, there really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment”.
Co-Op have aimed for 80% of its products to have "easily recyclable" packaging by 2020. They have recently developed their own and the first ever completely plastic free tea bags! It is has also replaced all plastic pizza disks with cardboard which has saved 200 tonnes of plastic from landfill.
Asda has reduced the weight of its packaging by 27% since 2007 by using different or thinner packaging on its meat and own brand food. They have also saved 82 tonnes of plastic by making its own two-litre brand water bottles lighter.
Morrisons recycle all of their carrier bags and use returnable bins for fish products and claim to keep 95% of its store waste out of direct landfill. They have also removed all micro beads and plastic cotton buds from their own-brand cosmetic products, and plan to eventually remove all drinking straws from its cafes.
What Are MatsGrids Doing To Tackle Waste Plastic?
A whole host of MatsGrids products are manufactured entirely or partially from recycled plastic. We pride ourselves on providing almost exclusively recycled and environmentally friendly products.
We currently stock a wide range of recycled plastic and rubber products. You can see these below:
Made From Recycled Plastic:
- X-Grid - A ground reinforcement grid that can be used for Gravel Driveways, Car Parks, Paving, Access Routes, Shed Bases and much more.
- Plastic Decking Boards - Our two fully recycled decking boards (Elegrodeck & RecoDeck) are made from 100% post-consumer waste and come with a 26 year manufacturers guarantee. They can be used to create decking, terraces, balconies and so much more.
- Lawn Edging - We have 3 variants of lawn edging all made from 100% recycled plastic. Geo-Border, EcoLat and Roll Black Plastic are 3 products we offer and they are perfect for creating divides in your garden.
- Grass Protection & Reinforcement Mesh - GrassMesh (available in 3 variants to protect against Pedestrians, Pets & Light Machinery) and TurfMesh (Available in 3 variants to protect against small, medium and large vehicles) are made from recycled plastic and are used to protect the root of the grass and after a few weeks of grass growth become almost invisible.
- Plastic Lumber - Made from 100% recycled plastic and available in grey or brown, our plastic lumber is perfect for use in projects where wood would be traditionally used.
Made From Recycled Rubber:
- Rubber Grass Mats - Made from 100% recycled rubber and one of our most popular products, our rubber grass mats come in two variants and are incredibly versatile. They can be used as pathways, under climbing frames and even in horse paddocks.
- Rubber Play Surfaces - A solid tile made from 100% recycled rubber, our rubber play tiles and mats have a critical fall height of 1 meter, which is perfect for under swings and slides for your children.
- Rubber Gym Mats & Flooring - Made from 100% recycled rubber, our gym mats are heavy duty and non-slip making them the perfect flooring for indoor and outdoor use. Used for creating home gyms, weight rooms, yoga and dance studios and much more.
How Can You Do Your Part?
There are always ways we can all help cut down on waste, small things like using a bag for life instead of getting a plastic bag each time you visit the supermarket do make a difference. On the left are 8 tips from LessPlastic showing smaller and larger ways you can do to cut down on your plastic waste. From not using disposable cutlery and using your own water bottle and cup to using steel razors, bamboo toothbrushes and plastic free deodorant.
A good way to cut down on your plastic waste is to look at what items you throw away most. For example, if you go through 3 cartons of milk per week, switching to glass bottles from a milkman will reduce your plastic waste by a lot over the year. Using paper bags when packing fruit and vegetables from the supermarket instead of the plastic bags provided will again save a lot of plastic over a year. The small things you do change will have a massive impact over time and if more and more people do so, our plastic waste output will decrease massively.
For more information on how you can reduce your plastic waste, visit the LessPlastic website. And if you have any questions regarding our products and how they can be used then please do not hesitate to contact us.