As many as sixteen million plastic bottles are disposed of as rubbish every day in Britain, according to a recent study. 2.9 million people in the UK admitted that they never recycled plastic bottles, despite the plastic waste recycling facilities available throughout the country. Research carried out by SodaStream revealed that the number of plastic bottles thrown out with the rubbish could rise to 29 billion by the end of 2020.
Many plastic products, including bottles, end up polluting the oceans and causing massive problems for marine life. The plastic becomes brittle and is broken down into smaller and smaller pieces, often being eaten by marine creatures. Many different species are affected including dolphins, whales, fish, turtles and sea birds. A plastic bottle in the ocean can take as long as 450 years to break down.
The Sky Ocean Rescue Project was launched to find solutions to the increasing amount of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. In addition to creating problems for marine life, much of the plastic in the sea actually enters the human food chain.
This current research by SodaStream followed that launch and the company’s UK Commercial Director, Sumen Rannie, confirmed SodaStream’s support for the project. The company is in favour of encouraging change from plastic bottles to their more sustainable reusable bottles of sparkling water.
Landfill sites also come under increased pressure from plastic bottles being thrown away rather than being disposed of in a proper plastic recycling waste facility.
The reasons cited by the study’s participants for failing to recycle plastic bottles vary from a lack of time to the perceived difficulty of recycling. Fifteen per cent of people said that they were unaware that plastic bottles could be recycled.
Nearly one in every ten people who do not recycle the plastic bottles they use to claim that it is just too difficult, and seventeen per cent say that they do not have sufficient time to recycle. Although people admit to not recycling, twelve per cent of the people surveyed said that they felt more guilty about failing to recycle than they do about calling in sick to work.
Increased use of plastic waste recycling facilities could greatly reduce the amount of plastic that ends up as waste in the land, rivers and oceans. Deposit return schemes in countries such as Norway have significantly increased rates of plastic bottle recycling, and Sky is promoting the introduction of more of these schemes in the UK.
There are other ways of reducing the overall amount of plastic waste polluting the oceans. Since a 5p charge was levied on plastic carrier bags, the number of these that are washed up around the coasts of Britain has reduced by 40 per cent. Banning microbeads in cosmetic products is also expected to stop 680 tonnes of these ending up in the sea from the UK every year. Generally reducing the use of single use plastic items, such as straws, cutlery, coffee stirrers and cotton buds can also help to reduce the overall level of pollution.
A change in attitude is needed to ensure that a much greater proportion of plastic drinks bottles are recycled rather than being binned.