Thoughts on Plastic Pollution and Notes from Blue Planet II
One of the principal reasons Rebel Racer Coffee Company was created was to put into action the beliefs of the importance of environmental protection of it’s founders. The facts surrounding plastic pollution in the worlds oceans are devastating to say the least. We are passionate about playing our small part in offering a stylish and reusable alternative to the growing tide of single-use low-quality plastics and coated wax papers that are choking the world.
Some quick facts about the state of the world’s plastic pollution:
- Only 12% of the world’s plastic that has ever been produced has been recycled
- 9% of the world’s plastic has been burnt, releasing harmful noxious gases to the atmosphere
- The rest (79%) has not been disposed of correctly and is either in landfill or in the ocean
Source: National Geographic, 2018. Retrieved 15/09/18.(https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/plastic-facts/)
Rebel Racer Coffee Company is extremely proud to support the work of PANGAEA PROJECTS, a dedicated youth-run NGO that strives to educate the world on the issues the environment faces and offer tangible steps for people to take action in their everyday lives to reduce their impact, while also going out of their comfort zone and experiencing the beauty of nature. We donate 5% of all sales to PANGAEA Project – that’s $1 for every cup you purchase.
Some steps we can take everyday to protect the environment are:
- Say no to single-use cutlery. Take the time to dine in, eat at home or if you’re work place doesn’t offer cutlery, ask!
- Use a reusable Rebel Racer coffee cup. Hint: you came to the right place! You may even receive a discount at some of your favourite cafes!
- Ride a bicycle or walk to work. Your mind and body will thank you for it!
- Use reusable containers for food storage and avoid single use plastic wrap.
- Say no to plastic bags! Purchase one of our tote bags, perfect for the grocery run or for shopping!
- Use a reusable glass drink bottle and drink that tasty tap water. Did you know putting water in the fridge overnight eliminates traces of chlorine from tap water? It tastes delicious! We're working on a reusable Rebel Racer glass bottle design and hope to have it available for purchase online soon. Stay posted!
- And don’t use straws! Sipping champagne is way classier sans-straw, trust us.
The BBC has recently published David Attenborough’s latest series, Blue Planet II. This is an extract from the coffee table book that outlines some of the horrors that plastic pollution is causing to our world and their effects as we understand them currently.
Notes from Blue Planet II
Plastic is usually broken down by ultraviolet light from the sun and wave action into smaller particles, with 92 per cent of plastic in the ocean less than the size of a grain of rice. This is entering the food chain at its lowest level. At the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, scientists have videoed zooplankton ingesting not their more usual food of phytoplankton, but minute pieces of plastic. It was thought that these tiny animals could distinguish between different types of algae and suchlike in the phytoplankton, but, if the plastic particles are of a similar size, they are mistaking them for food. In some cases, the plastic is egested within hours. In others, it is retained for several days, where it blocks the gut and the little creatures are unable to feed properly – the same problem as with the Norwegian whale, only in miniature.
A study of seafood from Indonesia and California by scientists from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University, Indonesia, found that plastic particles, rather than microfibres, were the overriding contaminants in 28 per cent of fish caught in Indonesia, but plastic microfibres dominated in 25 per cent of fish in California. The discrepancy is thought to be down to the fact that washing machines are less prevalent in Indonesia, and high-performance fabrics, such as fleeces, are not so common there. However, one thing the authors of the report in the journal Nature highlight is that this is the first time these fibres have been found in fish sold for human consumption, raising more concerns regarding human health.
A hint of what could happen to us comes from a study of bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Sarasota. Here, there is high mortality in first-born calves. Speculation is that their mother’s milk is contaminated by microplastics, along with any toxic chemicals that attach to the plastic, such as PCBs. The microplastics are in the fish consumed by the mother dolphin, and these are the same kind of fish that we eat.
Garbage Patch Ocean
At one time, the debris in which young seat turtles hide was mainly natural, but nowadays a flood of plastics dominates. It is thought that the equivalent of a large garbage-truck-load of plastic is dumped into the sea every minute of every day. The effects are an ecological nightmare.
Thousands of sea turtles are either strangled by discarded nylon fishing gear or choke on plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish. It is estimated that over half of living turtles have eaten plastic at some time in their life, and about 90 per cent of seabirds have consumed plastic particles that they have mistaken for food. Some starve to death because they feel full after eating plastic debris, and they consume it because they are duped.
Source: Blue Planet II: A New World of Hidden Depth Honeybourne, J & Brownlow, M with forward by Attenborough, D. (Printed 19/10/2017).
A sobering reminder of the realities of the effects of single use plastic. Choosing the planet is easy!
To a pollution free future!
The Rebel Racer Coffee Company