10 things you need to know about plastics
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
So many numbers, not enough info. Here's what you need to know about plastics.
The word plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos, which translates to ‘capable of being shaped and folded’.
What we know is that the number of plastics is increasing – plastics fragment over time however what is not clear is whether plastic inputs to the ocean have increased, decreased or stabilised.
Microplastics are basically impossible to clean up from the ocean because they’re so tiny.
Plastics never completely disappear.
Animals eat plastic because they think its food. This can even alter their DNA (crazy I know!)
Bits of plastic in the ocean are essentially a completely new environment where mini biospheres can develop.
Storms or bad weather can redistribute plastic not only throughout the world but within the water column too. This makes continuous sampling all the more important in order to start seeing if any ocean pollution patterns emerge and determining actually how much is out there.
Fossil fuels are used in the production of plastics but compared to other ‘sustainable’ alternatives plastic can actually be more energy-efficient further down the line.
Step by step, countries are banning single use plastics such as plastic bags, cups, plates, cutlery, coffee pods and expanded polystyrene takeout boxes, by integrating it into national law and introducing hefty fines. In May last year, the glamorous Italian island of Capri introduced a single-use plastic ban, banning shopkeepers from selling single-use plastic and fining tourists up to EUR 500.