It has been a year since the last World Clean Up Day, what has been happening and what can you do to help?
Firstly, let’s take a look at some of the continuous damage of plastic pollution to our natural environment.
The Starboard Plastic Offset Program (POP) team collected a huge 75,000 KG of plastic waste last year, they met their target well before the due date. Now, this can be looked at in two ways, our team is epic at collecting, they work really hard to go out most days to collect. On the other hand, shows there is a huge huge issue in Thailand with plastic waste in the environment.
POP expand their targets year on year to match the board sales of Starboard and because they easily collect their target within the set time period, due to the large amounts of waste.
We need to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics and understand how it gets into the waterways!
What is the Financial Cost of Plastic Pollution?
According to UNEP, marine plastics contribute to an estimate cost of $500 to $2500 billion in marine ecosystem services, per year! Additionally, plastics in the marine environment are found to be the most harmful and most persistent proportion of marine litter. They are also make up the largest proportion of marine litter!
On the flip side, there are actions being taken to reduce this amount, and we can all play a part here!
Starboard’s Armacore Fins
Starboard is using Armacore fins now instead of Balsa Core. Working together with our supply chain the partners: Aditya Birla, Maui Fin Company and Cobra developed a way to close the loop of recycling epoxy composites. The method of soaking the Armacore fins in an acidic solution means there is reduced CO2 emissions. There is no need for intensive furnace pyrolysis and this method allows for all of the materials to be recovered and reused as they are totally in tact! Look out for these in your boards. The fins are also made using recycled plastic bottles, reducing our reliance on virgin plastic too. Read the Press Release here.
Plastic Soup Surfer’s Plastic Bottle Deposit Scheme
After campaigning for four years, on July 1st the Netherlands launched a public deposit scheme for small plastic bottles. Preventing approximately 75 million bottles being littered! This was Merijn Tinga’s first campaign to launch. Securing 55,000 signatures for a petition, the resolution was even named after him… ‘The Plastic Soup Surfer Resolution’. Watch the video below to see more on The Plastic Soup Surfer’s incredible challenge of crossing the North Sea on a recycled plastic board.
Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities
In the UK now there are 802 Plastic Free Communities thanks to the help of Surfers Against Sewage and the amazing members of the public who have worked hard to make their hometown ‘Plastic Free’. To become a Plastic Free Community, local leaders will work with businesses to ensure they are not using: plastic drink bottles, disposable coffee cups, sachets, bathroom plastics, excessive food packaging, takeaway containers etc. Therefore, reducing the creation of single use plastic waste in the community! This engagement spreads the word in local areas and allows everyone to learn how to use alternatives. There is much more detail on the SAS website here.
Mushroom Eating Plastic?
In 2011, the University of Yale have been researching how mushrooms can break down polyurethane (plastic) into organic matter. Fast forward to today, more and more research is taking place and findings show these mushrooms are consumable by humans and animals after these mushrooms have spent weeks or months processing the plastic.
Would you eat them?
More in-depth research is focusing on how to scale up this plastic-eating project, and how the mushrooms are absorbing pollutant chemicals. Let’s keep our eyes open for more fungi research updates!
How can you take action this World Clean-Up Day?
September 18th is World Clean Up Day, time to get active!
There are many areas which are in need of a clean-up, there may even be somewhere very close to where you are right now. Head out with your gloves, and reuseable clean-up bag, grab a friend or family member and get picking! However, if you’d like to join an organised clean-up, head over to the World Clean Up Day event page and search for a clean-up near you.
We understand that COVID restrictions are still in place, and some of us may feel better doing something indivdually. Brand audits are something you can in your very own home. Furthermore, by logging which brands you are purchasing from you can see exactly how much plastic you are actually using. Importantly, when you send off your brand audit you are helping Break Free From Plastic lobby these brands. Aiming to put pressure on brands to redesign their packaging to limit their plastic use! Log your details on this form to send the information directly to Break Free From Plastic.
Finally, the action we should all be taking every day! Limit the amount of single-use plastics you pick up. Make simple swaps first and then work your way up to bigger changes. Check out the image below to see what changes you can make to limit your impact.