2019 Environmental Round-Up
2019 has been an incredible year for taking action against single-use plastic.
We at Green Man are passionate about protecting our planet, caring for nature and reducing harmful plastic waste. As we campaign for an end to harmful single-use plastics, we attended numerous events including the World Ocean’s Day conference at the United Nations HQ in New York and the Oceanic Standard’s UK launch.
This year, humanity has saw the devastating impact of plastic pollution like never before. Horrifying images and videos on the news and shared across social media have shown the full extent that even our “recycled” plastic has on our wildlife, our oceans and our planet. This has sparked a wave of action against plastic across the globe.
About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish. 😔🌏 #savetheocean #noplastic #climatechange #reuse #recycle pic.twitter.com/7s93Bl9j4b— Kerry Ash Kern (@BornKern) December 16, 2019
Governments take action against plastic
It seems many governments are showing commitment in taking action against plastic as in a historic UN framework, 186 countries pledged to fight ocean plastic. In a bid to set an example, numerous government buildings have banned single-use plastic. This came as the EU announced a ban on throwaway plastics which already have good plastic-free alternatives such as cutlery, plates and straws.
The EU decided to ban single-use plastic consumer items like plates, cutlery and straws as of 2021 to help clean up oceans pic.twitter.com/umMe6A3dgL— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) March 31, 2019
Supermarkets take action against plastic
Consumers are pressuring supermarkets and manufacturers to take responsibility for their impact on the environment. Single-use plastic packaging has been a particular focus with pre-packed vegetables being an obvious target.
Many of the larger supermarkets have trialled a series of plastic-free options along with offering loose vegetables as an alternative to pre-packed veg. In addition to this, some of the UK’s biggest retailers signed the Plastic Pact which pledges to ban disposable plastic cutlery, polystyrene packaging, plastic cotton buds, stirrers, microplastics, plastic straws, disposable plastic plates and bowls & PVC packaging by the end of 2020.
Big name events take action against plastic
2019 has been a big year for recognised and reputable events making considerable efforts not only to increase awareness of plastic waste, but also take action to reduce it.
The London Marathon led the way with edible, plastic-free water pods. Later Glastonbury showed a great example with a ban against plastic bottles and a stage made from litter picked from UK streets & beaches. Following this numerous music festivals announced plans to go plastic-free.
These plastic-free water pods just replaced 200,000 plastic bottles at the London Marathon! pic.twitter.com/w8osbCGiKw— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) May 3, 2019
Big brands take action against plastic
Influential big-name brands such as Coca Cola and McDonalds have announced changes in a bid to tackle their contribution to single-use plastic waste.
Coca Cola announced it would be ditching plastic shrink wrap on multipack cans in favour of eco-friendly cardboard. This could encourage other brands to switch to more sustainable alternatives.
McDonalds ditched plastic straws and many other food and drink outlets followed suit. This has been a big win for the environment as plastic straws are extremely harmful to marine life.
The population takes action against plastic
Throughout 2019 we’ve seen a huge increase in groups and individuals doing their bit to take action against plastic. Every effort, no matter how small makes an impact. Notably, this year saw the UK’s biggest ever beach clean with a massive 45, 700 volunteers pulling together to clean up our beaches.
Yay! 🎉 It's #VolunteersWeek! 🎉— SurfersAgainstSewage (@sascampaigns) June 3, 2019
RT to celebrate the 45,771 amazing people who gave their time to tackle plastic pollution in their local communities for our #BigSpringBeachClean. 💪🌊
You made it the UK's BIGGEST beach clean ever!
🙌 #MondayMotivation 🙌 pic.twitter.com/2eG4ffepeD
Countries, States and cities announce bans on single-use plastic
In addition to the EU’s ban on single use plastic, locations across the globe as California and New York City passed legislation that would see the ban of single-use plastics, whilst Costa Rica and Maine focused on banning toxic Styrofoam.
Bans on imported plastic waste
Following on from China’s ban on imported plastic waste, India announced a similar ban whilst Malaysia declared it would be sending back 3,300 tons of non-recyclable plastic waste to countries such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. This bid to deter the country becoming a dumping ground for rich nations has forced governments to consider entirely new ways of dealing with waste. We hope that this will lead to a more circular economy.
As 2019 draws to a close, we would like to thank all our wonderful Green Man customers for their continued support and for choosing eco-friendly, sustainable packaging in pursuit of a plastic-free future.