Why We’ve Stopped Using Single Use Plastic

We are committed to creating a culture of environmental responsibility not just with ourselves but with our visitors and employees too.

Did you know that there are 100,000 tonnes of plastic from coastal land in the EU that ends up in the sea every year? This has far reaching repercussion for the environment, marine life and the eco-system. It is a major problem that we are committed to finding a solution to.

This is one of the reasons that we have stopped using single use plastic at the Aquarium.  

What is ‘Single Use Plastic’?

You might have heard the term ‘single use plastic’ before as it has been on the news a lot in recent years.

Single use plastics are usually hard to recycle using traditional methods. They are only used once and then they have to be binned and disposed of. Think about things such as food packaging, plastic straws and bottles of water – these are all made from single use plastic. Only around 10% of plastic worldwide is recycled with the rest simply being dumped in landfills or even worse finding its way into our oceans which has a significantly detrimental effect on marine life.

We need to start using less plastic and we welcome the fact that single use plastic has been banned by the EU Parliament.

Why Has It Been Banned?

The complete ban on single use plastic that has been passed by the EU Parliament has been specifically brought in to protect our oceans.

It applies to items such as cotton buds, plastic cutlery and plates, straws, balloon sticks and drink-stirrers. It is hoped that this ban will come into effect by 2021 and it isn’t just banning items such as the above that it will impact. The EU has also called for a reduction of 25% in plastics where no other alternative material is available such as sandwich wrappers. This is expected to be achieved by 2025.

It takes a plastic bottle 450 years to biodegrade and it is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic go into our oceans across the world. A significant number of marine life is affected by single use plastic being put into our oceans every year – a whale that died near Thailand earlier this year had consumed 80 plastic bags.

What We’re Doing To Help

So, what are we going to do practically here at the Malta National Aquarium to help?

Some of the measures we have already taken include:

  • We are using PLA cutlery instead of plastic for takeaways
  • Wooden spoons instead of plastic stirrers
  • We aren’t giving out plastic lids for coffee cups
  • We are using reusable recycled plastic cups and also reusable polycarbonate glasses instead of disposable cups for events
  • Papers bags instead of plastic bags in our shop

This is only the start of the process. We need to do more to protect our oceans from plastic which is incredibly harmful to our marine life, ecosystem and our planet.

The ban on single use plastic is a good beginning and we hope that every country around the world will eventually commit to eradicating this from our waters.

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