All posts by GGRC

Australia Cuts 80% of Plastic Bag Use in 3 Short Months

Despite a few hiccups along the way, Australia’s plastic bag consumption has dropped drastically.

Three months after two of the largest supermarket chains banned plastic grocery bags, an estimated 1.5 billion bags have been prevented from use, the Australian Associated Press reported, citing the National Retail Association.

Overall, the bans introduced by Coles and Woolworths last summer resulted in an 80 percent reduction in the country’s overall use of the single-use item, the retail group revealed. 

“Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent,” National Retail Association’s David Stout told the news service. 

Initially, some customers felt “bag rage” about having to BYO-bag or fork over 15 Australian cents (11 cents) to buy a reusable one. Woolworths execs blamed slumping sales on “customers adjusting” to the plastic bag ban. Coles even briefly backed down on the bag ban and caught a lot of flak from environmentally conscious shoppers for giving away reusable plastic bags. 

But the good news is that it seems most Aussies haven’t found it too hard to adjust to the change—and that’s fantastic for our landfills, oceans and the greater environment, which have become dumping grounds for our plastic waste.

Stout applauded the progress but shared hopes that the Australian government will get behind a nationwide ban. New South Wales, the nation’s most populous state, is the only state that has not legislated to phase out single-use plastic bags.

There has been a growing movement to ban or tax these bags. Around the world, at least 32 countries have bans in place, according to reusable bag company ReuseThisBag.

“We’re still seeing a lot of small to medium bags being used, especially in the food category, and whilst I get some comfort that the majors have done this voluntarily I think there still needs to be a ban in place,” he told the Australian Associated Press.

“For business, for the environment, for the consumer and of course even for councils which have to work to remove these things from landfills, there’s a multitude of benefits on a whole to doing this.”

Plastic: influencing pro‐environmental attitudes among youths

Plastics have much to offer as a modern convenience, but lack of responsible plastic waste management habits can lead to potentially harmful environmental effects. Past environmental initiatives revealed a lack of understanding about youth attitudes towards pro‐environmental issues. Plastic, an online public environmental promotional campaign, encouraged youth to recognize the importance of, adopt positive attitudes towards and subsequently adopt the practice of responsible plastic management. We propose the Temporal Incentives Model of Social Influence to guide social campaign design. A pre‐post quantitative research design showed that the pre‐contemplation, contemplation and preparation stages progressed significantly after the campaign. The findings suggest that stimuli incorporating specialized information and small action steps allow migration to successive stages. With the strong presence of internet culture among youth, the online medium was found effective in altering the attitudes of the campaign target audience, while exposure to the campaign messages proved useful in encouraging environmental learning among youth.

 

Pledge to End Ocean Plastics

We know our oceans and coastlines are choking on plastic. We’ve all seen plastic bottles, food wrappers and plastic bags polluting beaches, and been horrified by the stories of marine creatures like seabirds and whales starving when their stomachs become packed full of plastic. More…

Another Reason to Ditch Plastic—It Smells Like Food to Fish

We know that the massive amount of plastic that’s continually dumped into our oceans can end up in the stomachs of marine species (and ultimately on our plates), but why would they want to eat it?

Well, new research suggests that fish are not just accidentally gobbling up our plastic trash—they could be actively seeking it out because they like how the debris smells and are confusing it for their natural prey. More…

Fighting for a Plastic-Free Ocean

Plastic pollution is suffocating the ocean and the animals that call it home. Researchers estimate there are now more than 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean and the number grows every day. This pollution is ravaging our marine ecosystems, entangling and choking wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, fish and turtles. Plastic never biodegrades, it only spreads and it’s now polluting every part of the ocean—from beaches, reefs and deep ocean trenches to the frigid waters of the Arctic. More…

Costa Rica Wants to Become World’s First Country to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics

Costa Rica wants to become the world’s first country to achieve a comprehensive national strategy to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021.

The Central American nation intends to replace these wasteful, ocean-clogging items—such as plastic store bags, straws, coffee stirrers, containers and plastic cutlery—for biodegradable or water-soluble alternatives, or products made of renewable materials (think plant starches). More…

Plastics Leave Permanent Indestructible Legacy

Timber rots, cement crumbles, metal corrodes: plastics are there for ever. By 2050 there could be 12 billion tonnes in the world’s landfills.

US scientists have calculated yet another item on the human shopping list that makes up the modern world: plastics. They have estimated the mass of all the plastic bottles, bags, cups, toys, instruments and fabrics ever produced and tracked its whereabouts, as yet another index of the phenomenal change to the face of the planet made by recent human advance. More…

19 Aquariums Pledge to Fight Plastic Pollution, Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags and Straws

A collaboration of aquariums across the U.S. have launched a campaign Monday to reduce ocean and freshwater plastic pollution.

Notably, as of today, all 19 aquariums that belong to the Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) have “eliminated” plastic straws and single-use carryout plastic bags at their facilities. More…

1 Million Plastic Bottles Bought Every Minute, That’s Nearly 20,000 Every Second

A new report highlights the astounding amount of plastic bottles humans go through and the environmental havoc it wreaks.

Citing figures from consumer market research company Euromonitor International, The Guardian reported that 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute—or about 20,000 per second—around the globe. More…

7 Shocking Facts About Plastics in Our Oceans

The oceans are massive, pulsing, vibrant bodies of water that serve humanity in countless ways—from providing food to enabling commerce to simply being beautiful.

But these powerful expanses of sea are not invincible. Each year, human activity erodes marine life in some way. More…