Planet vs. plastics

‘Planet vs. Plastics’ is the theme for Earth Day 2024.

With the goal of creating plastic-free future, has called for a 60% global reduction in plastic production by 2040.

To achieve a 60% reduction by 2040,’s goals are:

  1. promoting public awareness of the damage done by plastics to humans, animals, and all of nature;
  2. demanding more research be conducted on its health implications, including the release of any and all information regarding its effects to the public;
  3. rapidly phasing out all single use plastics by 2030 and achieving this phase out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024;
  4. demanding policies ending the scourge of fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses; and
  5. investing in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world.

Source: Planet vs Plastics at

The plastic plague

Plastic is a synthetic product that is very cheap to produce, very durable and very toxic. This is a perfect storm for Earth and all of us who share this wonderful planet. It is perverse and tragic that plastic is commonly used for so many one-use and disposable products.

When plastics ‘weather’ they simply break down to smaller pieces of plastic (microplastic) which can be more dangerous to life than larger pieces. This is true of all plastics from water bottles to polyester clothes.

Babies vs. Plastics

As plastics break down into microplastics, they release toxic chemicals (such as BPA and phthalates) into our food and water sources and circulate through the air we breathe. In November 2023, to bring public attention to the health threat that microplastics pose, released its report Babies vs. Plastics, which collated some of the latest science on the subject.

One of the most shocking revelations writing this report was that babies and infants appear to have over 10 times higher rates of microplastics in their feces samples than adults. One reason is that babies rely put practically everything into their mouths to find out what they are. This includes plastic toys, soothers and plastic bottles, which means they are ingesting tiny plastic particles. Scientists from Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, published a study in October 2020, which estimated infants could ingest up to 4.5 million plastic particles per day when fed from polypropylene baby bottles.

BPA is an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC) which means it has a host of health related issues. All of these substances have been linked to various sorts of cancer.

It doesn’t stop there either – microplastics are proven vectors for bacteria and viruses as well as attracting heavy metals and other toxic chemicals that adhere to them. Plastics are truly a plague!

Beating the plastic plague

It is best to reduce your consumption of plastic; what you put in the recycling bin may not get recycled. It may be difficult to avoid all plastics but you you can find ways to reduce your dependence on plastic.

Ten tips for reducing plastic use and waste

  1. Don’t buy water in plastic bottles – get a washable stainless steel water bottle and fill it from the tap
  2. Use reusable shopping bags
  3. Choose natural biodegradable fabrics – organic cotton, hemp, linen, wool, silk
  4. Buy in bulk and reuse containers
  5. Choose options in glass bottles and jars
  6. Buy unpackaged fresh produce, preferably at Farmers Markets
  7. Avoid disposable products of any sort if possible – only use disposable products made from natural materials if not
  8. Use washable nappies/diapers
  9. If you have to smoke, don’t use filters (which are a type of plastic)
  10. Wash and reuse (or repurpose) plastic containers

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