Glance up from your screen ... how many things can you see that are made of plastic?
Updated: May 28, 2021
Take a moment, look up from your screen – how many things can you see that are made of plastic? Most likely the first thing you’ll notice is a laptop/ipad/phone cover – protecting whichever device you’re reading this on. But look a little further … what else … bottles, containers, clothes, carpets, toys, kitchen equipment, packaging, furniture, bags … If you’re in your car – seating, panelling; if you’re outside – waste bins, pipes, signs, car tyres?
Do you think plastic is fantastic? In many ways ‘yes’– it can be moulded and shaped, it is versatile, hygienic, lightweight, flexible, durable…
However, in other ways ‘no’. Plastic is causing many problems for our world – plastic rubbish, and even teeny-tiny plastic pieces – called microplastics – are harming our wildlife, polluting our natural world and making climate change worse.
Today, most of our plastics are made from fossil fuels – petro-plastics. In the future, experts estimate that 90% of required plastics could be derived from plants - bio-plastics. However we’re not there yet and our world can’t wait, so let’s make a start today!
We need to think REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE - in that order. Your challenge this week is to help your family to REDUCE your use of single-use plastic - ‘banish the clingfilm, and plastic bags forever!’– maybe you could hide the clingfilm, and plastic bags in a different cupboard – it will make you think twice before using them (you’d better check with your parent/carer first however!). And when you go shopping, can you help your parent / carer choose items with less plastic packaging?
Don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON when you have completed this challenge!
How do you think plastics contribute to climate change?– aside from the carbon emissions caused by manufacturing and transporting plastic products, recent research suggests that microplastics (tiny fragments of plastic) are contaminating the plankton in the ocean, reducing the ability of the ocean to ‘store’ carbon. When plastic waste breaks down it also release methane and other greenhouse gases, making climate change worse.
RECYCLING is not the ideal solution, as the recycling process itself uses lots of energy - and 90% of plastics end up as pollution. REDUCING our use of plastic is the most effective way to reduce its impact on climate change and the wider environment. You may like to watch this TED ed talk about what really happens to our plastic – following the lives of 3 plastic bottles!
What ingenious ways can you think of to help your parent / carer store left-over food without clingfilm and plastic food bags? You’ll need to be inventive – can you use a saucer to cover your leftovers, could you cover them with a clean tea-towel, can you re-use an ice-cream tub or jam jar? Can you make some wax cloth wraps? Try not to be tempted just to replace plastic with tinfoil – recycling aluminium is a very energy intensive process – with high carbon emissions.
Our Young Climate Warriors initiative is growing – thanks to all of you! – can you ask your parent / carer if they know of anyone who might be interested in joining us – we’re looking for people with communication, marketing, admin, outreach, creative design or social media skills (email firstname.lastname@example.org) Thank you!
Have fun thinking of inventive ways of storing your food and remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON!