Drowning in plastic

Drowning in plastic

Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution

Brands need to take responsibility for their products after use.

30 second version

The plastic problem has reached unprecedented heights, and SeaPigs wants to do what it can to help the planet improve - and it starts with taking responsibility. The recent BBC documentary, Drowning In Plastic, provides a deeply detailed look at the plethora of issues that the planet is facing thanks to plastic, and while some of the figures are damning, all is not yet lost.

5 minute version

Brands need to take responsibility for their products after use.

We are all well aware that it takes plastic an awfully long time to decompose, but yet it seems people, in their daily hurry and preoccupation with other matters, truly are unable to take into account what this means. We are all guilty! Try and actually consider the fact that every piece of plastic ever made is currently still out there somewhere. It takes so long to break down that none of it actually has yet. Consider every bottle you’ve ever drank from, every carton you’ve ate from, every packet you’ve opened, piece of furniture you’ve sat on, appliance you’ve used, and every bag you’ve disposed of, are all still in existence ... and that’s just you.

This is one of the startling realisations environmentalist Liz Bonnin draws us to in her recent BBC documentary, ‘Drowning in Plastic’. She informs us that there are an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic currently polluting our oceans, and to continue dumping it into them at our current rate will mean that by 2050, there will be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish. And herein lies the problem - this terrible scenario only occurs if we continue at our current rate, yet every year the amount we drop into the sea only ever increases. Is it any wonder that there are giant garbage patches floating atop the water - like the one between Hawaii and California that, at present, is more than three times the size of France?

It’s estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic go into the ocean every year.

Every minute, worldwide, we buy 1 million plastic bottles, 1 million disposable cups and 2 million plastic bags, and every single one of these seemingly trivial, one-use items will actually outlive its user tenfold. Every minute, a truck full of plastic is unloaded into the oceans, where it kills off our coral reefs thanks to the diseases carried by bacteria that grow on the plastic. Nowhere is safe, from the icy Arctic to the most remote tropical islands to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench (the deepest point on earth at the bottom of the Pacific), where Newcastle University recently found plastic to have reached for the first time.

The biggest indicator of the problem lies with seabirds - which experience the beaches, the shallows and the open oceans depending on wherever you happen to find them in their migration pattern. And the evidence is overwhelming, as they are regularly mistaking plastic for food and innocently eating anything they can get their beaks around. When they should be eating fish and squid, they are eating bottle caps and pen lids.

Bonnin shows us the largest flesh-footed shearwater colony in the world, on Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. This is the species of seabird found to consume the most amount of plastic proportionate to their size - for perspective, if they were human, they would have ten kilos of plastic in them at any one time. And it’s not just weight that’s the issue - chemicals in the plastic disturb their hormones. Bonnin witnesses plastic being extracted from a chick and is horrified watching it regurgitate nineteen pieces of plastic - only to be told the record for a chick that size is 260.

On her travels Bonnin explores how plastic fishing nets are a hazard to all kind of wildlife, witnessing a five-month old seal die after being caught up in a net designed to trap fish by their gills. She looks at how plastic rope, a virtually indestructible alternative to the far less reliable traditional hemp, being implemented has resulted in whales becoming entangled in them. Solutions to this problem, she discovers, still require more development, with the fisherman pioneering these ideas extremely reluctant to change the status quo and risk being shunned by an industry where money is king. And yet 1 million tonnes of fishing nets are lost or dumped at sea annually.

You can be forgiven for thinking that this is a hopeless cause - because there’s every chance that it might be - but this does not mean that efforts should stop to end this insanity. Even if we could dredge all of the plastic from the ocean, what do we do with it then? 2 billion people don’t even have access to waste management, and have been dumping their waste in the sea for all of time.

The SeaPigs Guarantee:

SeaPigs guarantee to re-use or recycle your old SeaPigs products free of charge and give you £10 off your next purchase.

SeaPigs want to do what we can to fix this deeply pressing issue. That’s why we provide every one of our customers with the means to return our products back to us once they’ve surpassed usefulness, so that we can reuse the product ourselves with our future products. The last thing in the world we want is to be taking a stroll along the beach (as we do, regularly) and see one of our discarded products washed ashore. Now, we know we don’t have 100% control over whether or not our customers do this, but to make the prospect more attractive, we offer customers £10 off their next purchase with us if they send an old product back - the SeaPigs guarantee. We guarantee to take responsibility of our products after use, with YOUR HELP.


We take responsibility for our products after use.