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  • Sophie Dingwall

Is All Plastic Bad...?

One boat sailing around the world in name of scientific research forming an army to defend the oceans!

Plastic pollution on land and in our oceans has been a hot topic and one I’m sure you’ve all heard something about. People are now more aware than ever before, which is a good thing.


Question is… Are all plastics bad?

Should we ban all plastic, or is it actually a really useful material that is necessary for some products i.e. medical equipment?

The consumer (me and you) have become reliant on what is convenient and these single use plastics I think, are most damaging. We have created an amazing material that is durable and lasts hundreds of years and yet we are choosing to only use it once before disposing of it. It’s a bit like every time your car runs out of petrol, skipping it and buying a new one. I mean, this is crazy!?

Plastic spoon found in middle of the Atlantic

Deciding you're going to go plastic free and throw away all your cosmetics, bottles etc that are still half full and buying the latest trend in eco moisturiser doesn't mean that you are helping the environment. Sometimes commercially this ‘plastic free’ lifestyle comes across as being the current latest trend. Many of these companies are advertising being ‘plastic free’ ‘compostable’ or ‘eco’ and what does that really mean? These terms are used so loosely and have little legislation against them, meaning there’s no real laws to determine what makes that product ‘eco’


For example, Bamboo lunch boxes. You may have seen them in the shops, they advertise being an alternative to plastic but in actual fact they are very likely either coated in plastic film or have plastic added to the bamboo ‘paste’ in order to mould it and makes sure its waterproof.

These products are then not recyclable and will not degrade in your home compost bin, only industrial composting. If they do make their way into the recycling chain, they can contaminate it preventing any of the products from being recycled. These bio products are ‘green’ in name but they have a dark side. I was surprised to find this out and previously I have bought bamboo products thinking this was a better option and now I’m questioning - does this in fact make it harder to recycle and break down and therefore just as bad as plastic or even worse?

What’s the goal?

We are looking at plastic pollution form a number of different approaches, all the way from tracking large plastics from space to filtering micro plastics which are smaller than the eye can see, on both land and sea. We are trying to work out how much plastic is actually out there and based on ocean currents - where it’s coming from? This then enables us to develop better solutions on land to stop it entering the ocean in the first place. It’s amazing the things women can do when they’re cross, passionate or just damn determined to do so. Raising awareness is so important from education, industry and government and even your family. Change happens when people are educated and that’s what every person involved on this expedition is going to do.

We will educate and make changes in our on lives, communities, industries and the government. Ok, so you might think… It’s only my local school that I’m helping influence or I’ve stopped buying fresh veg that comes in plastic packaging and what difference will that make? Yes we need government and industries to make changes, but I think change has to come from the people and if enough of us care about our ocean and make enough fuss then they will have no choice but to make changes.

So if you’re reading this sitting at home in the midlands, miles from the sea… Wondering why would I care about the ocean, I’ve never even been to the beach and I recycle (some of the time)? Or I don’t have time for anything because I have four kids and one is a total liability that I can’t take my eyes off him, without him playing hide and seek with the hamster and Mr Hamster spending the rest of his days running around the inside of the video player - true story.

But the simple fact is, the ocean currents have a massive influence on our weather system across the globe and if we don’t look after the ocean and stop it from suffering then we all will be affected.



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