Helston to cut down on single-use plastic waste

Helston town council has joined the 21st century by agreeing to support the Plastic Free Communities campaign to limit the use of single-use plastic.

They are encouraging plastic-free initiatives within Helston and are inviting businesses and organisations to get involved.

Although not all plastic is unnecessary, the big problem is single use plastics and the quantities in which they are used.

For marine wildlife it can be deadly as they become entangled or even mistake it for food.

According to Surfers Against Sewage, one in three fish caught for human consumption contains plastic.

Seawater plastic absorbs chemicals which have been linked to endocrine disruption and even some cancers.

The 5p charge for using plastic carrier bags in large retailers has drastically reduced the number being used by consumers but I question why more is not being done to combat the amount used in packaging.

Food packaging makes up around two-thirds of the average person’s plastic footprint, with supermarkets creating an estimated 59 billion pieces of packaging totalling over 800,000 tonnes per year.

A recent analysis by consumer group Which? suggested 29% of supermarket plastic is not easily recyclable.

While the supermarkets are slow to react to the plastic pollution problem, smaller independent retailers appear increasingly committed to the cause. Another reason to buy local.

10 Facts About Plastic Pollution

1. In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than Seven billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic.
2. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.
3. The average time that a plastic bag is used for is 12 minutes.
4. Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.
5. Plastic bags, once ingested, cannot be digested or passed by an animal so it stays in the gut.
6. The average person eats 70,000 microplastics each year.
7. 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
8. Worldwide, about 2 million plastic bags are used every minute.
9. 50 percent of the plastic we use is thrown away after one use.
10. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.

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