Plastic – not so fantastic!
With the recent nurdle spill off the coast of KZN (https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/nurdle-hurdle-clean-up-of-kzn-beaches-far-from-complete-20180112), South Africa, there is much hype and a movement towards bringing awareness towards plastic, particularly single-use plastic, and it’s devastating effects on the environment, marine life as well as human health.
Nurdles are small plastic pellets, about the size of a lentil. They are melted down, dyed and used to make most plastic products found in the world today. The KZN spill occurred during a severe storm in October 2017 when a container ship lost 49 tons of nurdles into Durban’s waters.
Although the effects of nurdle spills are not directly harmful to human health, the consequences of spills such as these are far reaching as the plastic, over time, makes its way into the food chain. Small fish and other marine life consume nurdles, as they look like fish eggs. They will then pass through the food chain and the nurdles themselves, or parts thereof, will eventually end up in our water systems as well as in our bodies.
You may have heard or read about Phthalates. Phthalates are a family of chemicals added to plastics and many other products. They are often used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is made softer and more flexible by the addition of phthalates.
Much research suggests that phthalates are extremely harmful to human health and are related to health issues such ashma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
What can we do to help this issue? If we become collectively conscious about plastic, its uses and whether it can or cannot be recycled, this would be a start. Depending on the type of plastic, many plastics cannot be recycled and will not biodegrade. They will fill up in landfills and leach into soil and water systems.
Eva-Last® is adamant about keeping every aspect of our business as eco-friendly as possible. The materials we use are responsibly sourced, close to our factory, which greatly reduces our carbon footprint as minimal fuel is used. Most of our flooring comprises of bamboo-plastic. The majority of this plastic is recycled and sourced from items like discarded milk bottles. Bamboo is a fast growing resource and a far more sustainable option compared to timber. Bamboo takes a few years (depending on the species, between 3-7 years) to mature, compared to timbers, which take upward of 30 years to grow.
Our top 3 tips on how to reduce your plastic consumption:
- Upcycle! Reuse items, products and packaging where and when you can, instead of buying new.
- Make mindful choices! Try to buy products that are made from natural and/or recycled/recyclable materials. These types of products have far less impact on the environment, all the way from the manufacturing process and the methods and resources that are used to produce them.
- Think green! Consider converting to eco-friendly household and outdoor cleaning products. There are many detergent options on the market that are just as good and will not pollute water and soil systems.