Plastic in the ocean
On June 5th, we celebrated World Environment Day and World Ocean Day on June 8th. But is there a reason to celebrate? Oceans play a critical role in regulating the Earth's temperature by absorbing heat, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. They absorb about 40% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by humans and produce roughly 50% of our oxygen, making the planet more inhabitable.
However, ocean health and marine biodiversity are at risk as a result of human activities such as over-fishing, plastic pollution, greenhouse gas production and marine waste. Here is a quick primer on the status quo.
20,000 tonnes of oil spill in the Arctic Circle causes Russia to declare a state of emergency. As opposed to popular belief, the transport sector is not the largest contributor to the extraction of fossil fuels. 99% of all plastic production uses non-renewable fossil fuels.
A single plastic bottle uses 162g of non-renewable, climate warming fossil fuels and releases roughly 100g of carbon dioxide (CO2). The irony is, it is typically consumed in under 3 minutes, but lives on in our eco-system for over 500 years.
Plastic packaging isn't the only problem here. Most new clothing materials contain over 60% plastic content including polyester, acrylic, nylon and other synthetic materials. Every time these clothes are run through a washing cycle, tiny fragments of synthetic fibres (micro-plastics) are released into our waterways.
8m tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean, equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck every minute. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Micro and nano-plastics in our oceans are not just hurting the fish, they are detrimental to human health as they move up our food chain.
Facts about pollution
Marine life is majorly at risk
Coral reefs are dying around the world impacting livelihoods of entire countries, fishing communities, disrupting marine feeding grounds and aquatic balance. Plastic fragments have been found in every single species of turtles, who confuse it for food. Whales are believed to be one of the biggest carbon neutralisers, even more so than trees. Yet, ocean pollution threatens their very existence putting them at the risk of extinction.
But, there is hope
The pandemic has highlighted the impact of human activity on our planet. On the bright side, it has also made us realise how quickly we can adapt to a "new normal". The majority of the plastic waste in our oceans originates on land. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can adopt to preserve the health of our oceans:
Ditch single-use plastics
Invest in a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, metal straws, food take-out boxes and shopping bags. Visit a zero-waste refill store near you to fill up on food items or switch to our plastic free cleaning products.
Be mindful of the toxic chemicals in everyday products
Not only are these harmful to human health, but they cause air and water pollution. Using a typical disinfectant, bleach or cleaner that contains harsh chemicals, pesticides, artificial colourants and fragrances - we are washing all the toxins down the sink. This pollutes our waterways, rivers and oceans. Our water treatment facilities are not equipped to separate these chemicals once they enter the water stream.
Lower your carbon footprint
With refill and reuse systems, concentrated products, buying local you can lower your personal and household's carbon footprint. For instance, switching to our refillable, concentrated cleaners, you can cut down roughly 100kg of household plastic waste. Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water. Shipping water around the globe causes unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, even though research shows bottled water may not necessarily be any safer or more hygienic than tap water.
Reduce plastic waste from entering the ocean
In addition to cutting down on plastic waste, you can help keep our oceans clean by disposing of waste responsibly, understanding the recycling process for your local council, sign-up to go on beach clean ups and educate yourself about recycling codes.
How is Spruce committed to preserving our oceans?
We are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development goal 14: to preserve life below water. We do that by:
eliminating the need for single-use plastic bottles
removing toxic chemicals from our formulations
low carbon footprint by not shipping water
only using Forest Stewardship Council certified outer packaging
by sourcing and making our products locally in the UK
You can check out our range of refillable cleaning products that are free from single-use plastic free and made with safe, non-toxic ingredients ingredients.