Plastic in the spotlight this September

03.09.2020 - 16:42
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Iceland is three days into its fourth annual 'Plastic-free September' campaign, aimed at getting people to think about plastic in their daily lives and to reduce consumption of single-use plastics.

The Icelandic campaign is linked to the global United Nations campaign against plastic pollution, with the ambitious goal of ending the single-use plastic age outright.

Iceland comes out in 16th place on the list of countries recycling the most plastic, with 42.7 percent of its plastic waste registered as going for recycling in 2018. Nevertheless, the country throws away 70 million plastic bags per year and 40 kilogrammes of plastic packaging per person per year, Plastic-free September organisers claim.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental problems the world faces today. Plastic in the ground, and especially in the world's oceans, damages ecosystems and does not decompose. Instead, it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces over time, and these toxic microplastics become part of food chains with uncertain long-term consequences.

It is believed at this stage that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

Plastic-free September organisers say they are not expecting miracles and that people should start small, for example by setting five realistic goals each year. That way, they can achieve results without turning life upside down. One method would be to take one room at a time and see what changes can be made to reduce plastic use.

Some helpful tips include: buying a plastic-free washing-up brush, toothpaste tablets, bamboo toothbrushes, and re-usable sandwich bags.

Free plastic bags are already banned in Iceland and the sale of plastic bags will also be banned from next year. By the middle of next year the Icelandic government also plans to ban the sale of single-use plastics such as cottonwool buds, drinking straws, cocktail stirrers, plates, cutlery, cups, and glasses.

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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