By 2050 plastic items could outnumber fish in the ocean

Did you know that just 8.7 plastic checkout bags contain enough embodied petroleum energy to drive a car one kilometre? Or that by 2050 plastic items could outnumber fish in the ocean?

Australians are the second highest producers of waste per person (after the United States), with each of us sending over 690 kilograms of waste to landfill each year. 

Australians use 3.92 billion plastic bags a year - that's over 10 million new bags being used every day. 

Enormous amounts of plastic end up dumped in our environment, travelling downstream to the ocean.

Did you know the ocean is downstream of everywhere? At the end of the journey, it accumulates. Plastic doesn’t break down. It breaks up. Into smaller and smaller pieces. Where it’s eaten by fish and causes terrible problems for all marine life. Some of it even ends up back on your dinner plate.

Reducing some of the most commonly used plastics is easy. 

Say ‘no’ to plastic shopping bags, straws, coffee cups (they are lined with plastic, so are not easily recycled) and single-use drink bottles.

There are so many wonderful solutions.

 Use a cloth bag for your shopping (for example one of the many Boomerang Bags being made and supplied by local groups). Carry your own coffee cup and look out for the ‘Responsible Cafés’ symbol, where you might get a discount on your coffee. Refuse straws. Carry a water bottle that you refill, rather than buying drinks in plastic bottles. It’s better for your health, your budget and the environment.

What about bamboo or wooden toothbrushes? I use them and they are brilliant!

The recent shift to using ‘body wash’ liquids in plastic bottles really annoys me. What’s wrong with soap? In a bar? Preferably unpackaged?

Join us for a look at the problem of plastic, and the many wonderful solutions, at our film night. 

The film evening is brought to you by Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability and the Indigo Shire.

A Plastic Ocean will screen at the Beechworth Memorial Hall on July 15. Doors open at 6pm for soup and sourdough, with the film starting at 7pm. 

Cost is $15. Bookings are essential. Either visit Eventbrite (search for events in Beechworth) to book and pay online, or phone 03 5728 1791 and pay cash at the door. Children under the age of 16 are free.

Nicki Munro is a member of Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability.