It is estimated that up to 13 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, equivalent to a truckload of rubbish discharged every minute. This waste causes fish, seabirds, other sea creatures, and marine animals to entangle or ingest plastic debris, causing suffocation, starvation, and death.
The biggest disadvantage of plastic is that it doesn’t decompose and can stick or move around indefinitely, polluting marine environments and damaging ecosystems. Some plastics float once they enter the ocean, and much of it breaks into tiny pieces forming microplastics that are eaten by sea creatures and animals, getting affected by their toxic effects. Microplastics in different forms are present in almost all water systems in the world, especially the oceans.
According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by ocean pollution, and as much as 80% of the debris is from plastic. Plastic waste kills up to a million sea animals annually by ingesting plastics. Many marine creatures are found dead with their stomachs full of plastic waste. Over 1 million marine creatures are killed yearly due to ocean plastic pollution.
Sea turtles worldwide are worst affected by plastic pollution as they have ingested plastic. Some starve to death as their stomachs become full. On many beaches, plastic pollution severely affects turtles’ reproduction rates by altering the temperatures of the sand where incubation occurs.
Animals often starve by eating plastic because it prevents them from swallowing proper food. Scientists estimate that 60% of all seabird species consume plastic pieces, which may rise to 99% by 2050, considering the current trend.
Plastic waste can cause the growth of microbes and pathogens in the ocean. A recent study reveals that corals get contaminated by plastic and have an 89% chance of communicating diseases, compared with a 4% likelihood for corals that do not come in contact with plastic waste. The chances of disease on a coral reef have been enhanced by 20 times due to the presence of plastics.
In 2018, a survey of the 159 coral reefs across the Asia-Pacific region showed that over 11.1 billion plastic particles came in contact with corals. It is predicted that this number will increase by 40% by 2025. Plastic waste also causes physical damage to the corals and drastically exhausts natural resources. Importantly, more than 7000 species of fish, invertebrates, plants, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals
Five massive patches of plastic debris are found in the oceans around the world, where there are huge concentrations of plastic waste covering large areas of the ocean. The largest amongst them, known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, covers 20 million square kilometres of water. Marine species living in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are severely affected by plastic waste and disrupting the natural marine ecosystem.
Plastic has been found at 36,000 feet (approximately 11km) in the Mariana Trench, which indicates that even the deepest part of the world’s oceans cannot escape contamination from plastics.
Scientists predict that if action is not taken soon to address this serious problem, the weight of ocean plastics will exceed the combined weight of all of the fish in the seas by 2050.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia the land on which we operate and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present.
Are your products manufactured or sourced based on their minimal harmful impact to society, which translates to no child labour, no exploitation, fair wages for workers, social security payments, safe working place and fair-trade?
3. Manufacturing Process
Are your products manufactured or sourced based on their minimal harmful impact to our environment, which translates to being made of natural and organic material (i.e. bamboo, organic cotton), therefore zero waste, or fully recyclable at the end of their long life (i.e. stainless steel)?
Is your production chain transparent, i.e. you know where your raw materials come from, how they are being produced and that your providers follow ethical and sustainable production practices and policies?
4. Product Ingredients
Are your products free of toxic chemicals, toxic metals and pesticides (i.e. BPA, Synthetic fragrances, Microbeads, Parabens, Oxybenzone, Formaldehyde)?
Are all of our products free of palm oil and its derivatives, also free of responsibly sourced palm oil (RSPO)? At I’M PLASTIC FREE we believe that unfortunately you cannot fill a bucket of water from multiple taps, then try and separate the water showing which tap that water portion has come from. We want to fully fight deforestation as a way to preserve wildlife and minimise global warming.
Are your product cruelty-free, i.e. not tested on animals?
Are your products vegan?
5. Product Materials
Are your products free of virgin plastic themselves or in some cases have a minimal amount of plastic (i.e. a plastic pump in a cosmetic glass / aluminium bottle < 20%)?
Are your products manufactured with recycled / upcycled materials, including recycled plastic, in order to divert them from landfill (i.e. swimwear from recycled fibres)?
6. Product Packaging
Are your products free of plastic packaging?
Do your products follow a close-loop system, typical of the zero waste / circular economy, by which customers might be asked to send back empty packaging to be refilled with new product (i.e. recycling cleaning products’ containers etc)? Or do you simply offer a recycling service (i.e. taking back old socks)?
Have you obtained any national / international certifications? i.e. Vegan, Cruelty Free, Australian Made, FDA, GOTS, ISO, OEKO-TEX, Certified Palm Oil Free, No Plastic & Compostable, Not Tested on Animals, Australian Certified Organic etc?
If yes, which one(s):
8. Shipping Process
Do you ship your products with compostable or recycled packaging?
Do you ship your products with carbon neutral delivery (i.e. in Australia through Sendle, Shippit or Australia Post?
If yes, which carbon neutral delivery service do you use?