Tide turning on ocean and land plastic?

Friday, June 8 is World Oceans Day.

This week Woolworths announced moves to discontinue sales of plastic drinking straws, and Coles announced deeper moves for seriously re-engineering packaging to eliminate 90% of plastic in the supply chain. The announcements by the Australian grocers follow strong public opinion and outcry following the death of a whale in Thailand that beached after starving with a stomach filled with plastic. Veterinarians with the Thai Marine and Coastal Resources Department said an autopsy indicated that the whale died because it had swallowed 80 plastic bags and a total of 8kg of plastic.

The Prototype has reported growing actions in Australia and globally in the past months, but in late May, McDonalds’ shareholders voted down a resolution to discontinue plastic straws. Globally, Macca’s distributes 95 million single use straws every day. Late Thursday, IKEA announced it will phase out single use plastic by 2020.

What goes around comes around. In April researchers from University of Bayreuth in Germany reported discovering micro plastic particles in organic fertilisers obtained from household waste collection and downstream bio-waste fermentation and composting. Recycling in Germany yields 12 million tonnes of fertiliser used for human food production.

From the sea to our plates and from the farm to our mouths, there is growing evidence that yesterday’s discarded plastic is tonight’s dinner.

Read more: SMH / ABC / Reuters (video) / SBS / Science / The Guardian

Image: Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources/Social Media

This story is taken from the 08 June 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.