Plastic bag or Jellyfish?

Plastic bag or Jellyfish? This is a constant question for Turtles swimming in Oceans across the world due to the amount of plastic bags being littered every year globally.

According to a study led by Queensland University, 52% of Turtles worldwide have consumed plastic or other human rubbish. Of the 7 species of Turtles, 6 of those species have found a place on the endangered list. Wouldn’t it be a shame if future generations couldn’t see those Turtles in open waters, where they belong?

 

Instagram: @j.r.j.w swimming free diving with an Hawksbill Turtle on Christmas Day. Thank you for letting me use this video Jacob.

Plastic bags are just one of the many problems that marine life face in the oceans due to of the amount of time it takes for materials to degrade but also because it can easily be mistaken for food. It’s for that reason that this week I am using littered plastic bags to re-create something that we can re-use rather than throw away.

jellyfish 5 

Take the picture above as an example. A Turtle could easily mistake the plastic bag for a Jellysish. Floating, same size and similar in look, it’s easy to see why plastic bags, balloons and other similar materials are helping to put Turtles on the endangered list.

 

What can we do?

Thankfully, Governments, Businesses and consumers are becoming aware of this problem and action is being taken to reduce the amount of plastic bags we use every single year.

Businesses are beginning to make the transition to no longer offer plastic bags as a way of packaging; instead ethical businesses are pushing for a cleaner and more sustainable environment by offering paper bags, cotton bags and some even using eco-friendly bags which are made from natural starches and vegetable waste. Check out this post to see 6 creative alternatives to plastic bags. (Number 2 is my favourite!)

Governments around the world are becoming aware of the cost involved to clean up litter. In 2015, the UK government implemented a law where any business employing over 250 people are required to charge a minimum of 5p for any single-use plastic carrier bag. The proceeds from the single-use plastic bag sales are not taxed, instead companies are expected to invest the proceeds to worthy causes. This is definitely a start as some of the top retailers such as Tesco reported a drop in the amount of single-use carrier bags being sold. Read all about why there is a plastic bag charge here. 

Businesses and Governments are not making these changes because they believe it is the right thing to do, they are making these changes thanks to a growing concern from consumers who want to see businesses and governments acting ethically for the interest of sustainability as well as environmental organisations like Greenpeace putting pressure on Governments and Businesses to act ethically .

 

Week 2: Trash to Treasure (Re-using littered plastic bags)

Over the next 5 weeks I am re-using the litter I pick to create new items that will give purpose to somebody and hopefully preventing that same plastic from ending up as litter once again.

This weeks material I had to use was littered plastic bags.

To be honest, I found it quite difficult creating something completely different with the plastic bags. At the end of the day, it’s a plastic bag; what am I suppose to create other than a bag!

I started by fusing different layers of plastic bags together with wax paper in between to prevent the plastic melting and emitting fumes. It took a while to do this and to say it’s a first go, I am happy with the results and here are just a few of the results which give you an idea what we all can do with littered plastic bags rather than allowing them to end up in our oceans or on our streets.

 

upcycled plastic bags with small upcycled coin pouches
An idea what we can do with littered plastic; 3 small wallet/purses and a larger bag to protect belonging at the beach or by the pool.
upcycled plastic bag
The larger pouch gives plenty of room to protect belongings.

As you can see, I have created something a little bit different here. For people that enjoy going to the beach, camping or relaxing by the pool on holiday then the larger bags would be perfect as the plastic is strong and would prevent water coming through yet it is also light for practical use and can easily be rolled up for easy storage.

As this is is a first go, I am really pleased with the results and just like with the littered plastic containers I used last week, I will be using these again in the future.

 

Anyway, let me know what you think and please let me know some other practical items I could create which may be of benefit to you so that we can reduce the amount of litter we see on our streets and in our oceans.

 

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags 

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)

plastic bottle caps

 

Week 4 – cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium

 

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