It makes for sombre viewing, and really should be compulsory viewing for each and everyone of us.
I don’t expect many people really stop and think much about rubbish, but when you do, you realise that it really is EVERYTHING.
Every single thing we buy will end up as waste (yes even the stuff we eat….) at some point. And I think for most of us, it is a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Here are some fairly alarming Rubbish facts:
- In the UK, it is estimated we will run out of landfill by 2018
- In the last 150 years, not only has the amount of rubbish that we produce spiralled, but also the type of rubbish that we produce has changed-and a lot of the rubbish that we now produce CANNOT be broken down by nature
- Estimates for the number of plastic bags used a year are between 5 BILLION and 1 TRILLION
- Fish in the North Pacific Ocean could be ingesting plastic at a rate of 12,000-24,000 tonnes per year
- Researchers estimate that there are over six kilos of plastic for every one kilo of natural plankton in the Pacific Ocean
- Studies done in the North Sea revealed the some types of seagull averaged thirty pieces of plastic in their stomachs
- The UN Environmental Program estimates that over a MILLION seabirds and more than 100,000 mammals, die every year from ingesting plastic debris
- Burning rubbish (the obvious answer when landfill runs out) results on the release of compounds called ‘dioxins’ in to the environment. These are scary things. If you want to read more, have a look here
You only have to Google “pictures of animals harmed by plastic” to come up with images like this:
And it’s not just the animals that our rubbish effects. There are numerous studies linking congenital defects (birth defects) in babies, and increases in cancer rates in association with the methods we use to ‘manage’ our waste.
We are lucky here in the UK, in that our rubbish is actually managed. In many parts of the world, there are no formal waste collections, or even proper dumps, and people end up living like this:
This is scary stuff people. Really really scary.
And it feels kind of overwhelming.
BUT there is hope.
San Francisco has been leading the way as one the first ‘zero-waste’ cities in the world, and their recycling rates are currently at about 75% (in the UK, ours are about 40%), and there are al least 20 towns in Italy that have done the same, and have achieved similar recycling rates. And do you know what? In the process they have SAVED MONEY, AND CREATED JOBS. Kind of a no-brainer don’t you think? (Mr Cameron, if you are reading…)
So it CAN be done. And it really really really NEEDS to be done.
In the film, Jeremy Irons talks about the planet being at a tipping point. And it is. But I think the groundswell of public opinion is also starting to reach a tipping point. As more and more people become aware of the issues that our endless need to consume, and waste, is causing, then more and more people are starting to act.
Lot’s of people post the question, whose problem is rubbish?
It is EVERYBODY’S problem. And EVERYBODY needs to be part of the solution-from the designers, to the manufacturers, to the retailers, to you and me-yes you and me. I knowit can seem overwhelming, and it is easy to think that you putting your bottles in the recycling bin will do nothing to help. BUT IT WILL.
There is a great page on the Trashed website that is called ’10 SMALL THINGS’, and this is what it says “Improving the waste situation often seems an impossible challenge. But nobody is expected to save the world on their own! By making small changes in our lives, together we can all make a huge difference to the world around us.” And it goes on to detail the 10 Small Things that each and every one of use can do to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
So please please please: buy less, buy wiser, waste less, recycle more. AND SPREAD THE WORD.
PS. If anyone wants to organise a screening of Trashed in their own community, you can request one via the website here.