Ocean Care and Coastal Initiatives Port Stephens vice president makes the case for breaking up with single-use plastics

Keith Green

Keith Green

I remember when I was a kid and mum brought home our first plastic - a salt and pepper shaker.

You could drop it and it wouldn't break like the crockery ones we had been using.

That's a long time ago and lots of things are now made of plastic replacing those more fragile things.

Now the push is on to remove plastic from our lives as it is making a real impact as it never goes away.

Soon the government are banning single-use plastic bags.

We are asked to use reusable bags or will have to pay for thicker plastic bags that could be used again.

Currently NSW uses billions of single-use plastic bags a year.

That’s right, billions... and that's only about 3 per cent of our plastic rubbish.

Well it's a good start.

We, as a society, need to get on the same page and try and not use plastic bags.

We need to get back to some of the old ways.

When I was growing up string bags, cloth bags and paper grocery bags where the go - all degradable.

I know that a lot of people have only known a plastic bag society.

I know that there is a cost for reusable bags.

But isn't our health and lifestyle worth it? ‘Yes’ is the undisputed answer.

Science has proven we are surrounded by chemicals in our environments, and large amounts of that are from plastics.

Single-use bags are one item we use and discard that easily beaks into smaller particles, gets blown and washed away and causes untold damage to our environment.

We are finding it in places we never thought we would - in our water, in our food.

Plastic bags kill our marine creatures.

With the plastic breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces it affects more and more animals.

Fish eat it thinking it is food, other fish or birds then eat them, and on it goes - plastics containing chemicals entering the food chain, passing from one to another.

And who is the apex animal? Humans.

We reap what we sow.

Single-use plastic bags: I say goodbye and good riddance.

Keith Green is the vice president of Ocean Care and Coastal Initiatives Port Stephens.

To follow OCCI’s work visit its Facebook page @oceanandcoastalcareinitiatives.