With ocean pollution set to worsen by 274% by 2050, the UK Government has recently brought in additional bans on single use plastic products in an effort to meet the country’s targets of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
A new study by Direct365, an essential business services provider, has uncovered the industries contributing the most to ocean pollution globally and provided tips on how businesses can work towards producing less waste in an effort to reduce ocean pollution.
In 2020, data confirmed that there are 1,223,850 tonnes of waste disposed in the ocean, with future predictions standing at a rise of 60% by 2030, 147.4% by 2040 and 274% by 2050.
Only 3% of packaging is not wasted
Packaging generates 141 million tonnes of plastic waste, reflecting a 96.58% wastage rate. Furthermore, with inadequate recycling infrastructure and improper waste management services, it leads to plastic packaging being dumped in marine environments.
Consumer and institutional products exhibit plastic waste generation rates of 88.10% and 80.85% respectively. Industrial machinery and building and construction demonstrate lower waste generation percentages of 33.33% and 20% respectively. These sectors account for 302 million tonnes of plastic waste out of a total of 407 million tonnes.
Each industry, corporation and individual all have responsibilities to make moves towards a more sustainable future through actions like recycling and cleaning up the community. However, without education, awareness and resources it proves harder for people to do their bit for the environment.
How can your business reduce its waste consumption? Karl Bantleman at Direct365 has provided five simple tips to guide you:
Limit the usage of unnecessary single-use plastics
Limiting the use of single-use plastics within a business can range anywhere from avoiding over-packaging your products to banning single-use straws within your office. Each change whether small or large can make a sizable difference in reducing overall waste created by your business and therefore make a positive impact on the environment.
- Reduce printing and paper consumption and switch to digital when possible.
A study by Record Nations found that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year and 45% of that ends up in landfill.
Opting for important documents to be stored online will allow more flexibility for sharing information amongst your colleagues and ensure that documents can be stored securely to limit the risk of data loss. Furthermore, switching to digital will limit the need for printing unnecessarily and creating waste.
Encourage eco-friendly habits within your workplace
Encourage staff to make small, manageable changes to their habits to reduce the risk of waste. Examples of this include opting for reusable cups and bottles used for water instead of disposable ones and turning electrical appliances off at the wall when not in use.
Research by Healthy Human Life has found that 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfill and it takes up to 1,000 years for each one to decompose.
Ensure waste is disposed of responsibly and correctly
Ensuring that necessary waste is disposed of correctly will limit the impact that waste has on the environment. Have a clearly colour-coded labelled bin system to promote recycling within the workplace and arrange for the specialised collection of any waste that is unable to be taken away.
Practice transparency of waste management systems within your organisation to encourage employees to support the responsible disposal of waste. Possibly consider gaining sustainability certifications to highlight your commitment to the cause to both your employees and your customers.
Karl Bantleman at Direct365 said, “It is now becoming increasingly obvious that the ocean waste crisis demands urgent action. With 97% of our water being our oceans, it is essential governments and industries implement increased investment to tackle waste.
“With predictions that 6,624,600 tonnes of waste will live in our oceans by 2050, we must remember how important it is to do our bit at work and home and recycling is one of the easiest ways to ensure that we reuse material that would otherwise most likely end up in our oceans.”
One thing’s for certain and that we simply cannot continue emitting waste into our oceans at such scale. While this is a global issue that certain countries contribute significantly more to, implementation of waste management solutions should be taken from the ground up, starting within businesses, especially in those industries that contribute significantly to ocean pollution.”