Over the past 10 years, humanity has managed to produce more plastic than during the entire previous century.  As it stand, Ireland is currently the largest producer of plastic waste in the European Union.

Of the almost 300 million tons of plastic we produced every year, half of that is created for a single use purpose. From that, over 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year and the effects are beginning to show above the surface. 

The three main sources of plastic pollution come from a combination of our rubbish, tiny pieces of plastic called microbeads(typically found in personal care and cosmetic products) and industrial leakage.

Packaging accounts for over 40% of total plastic usage. It’s estimated that we use 500 billion plastic bags annually and are on course to reach over half a trillion plastic bottle sales a year by the end of the decade. 

The most worrying aspect of recent findings is that less than half the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling, and of those collected, only 7% were recycled into new bottles.

Ireland is currently the largest producer of plastic waste in the European Union.

Check out PlasticAdrift’s interactive map to get a sense of how far your waste can travel – here.

Substantial steps need to be taken to address the escalating scale of plastic pollution internationally, but here are some easy ways you can cut down on your personal plastic consumption at home:

1. Carrying a Reusable Water Bottle (Stainless steel drink bottles)

2. Start using a metal reusable straw or paper alternatives

3. Bamboo Toothbrush

4. Order Coffee in a Reusable Coffee Cup – such as KeepCups

5. Avoid products with excess food packaging

6. Use reusable shopping bags

7. Shop at bulk food stores

8. Avoid using single use disposable items – e.g. razors, coffee capsules, plastic bags Instead use reusable alternatives such as metal razors, reusable coffee capsules and produce bags.

9. Say no to Junk Mail – Place a no junk mail sticker on your letterbox

10. Avoid products with Microbeads