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The History- Plastic Pollution (PART TWO)

SHOES – 1950

All new sneakers are partly or completely plastic, and most heels are made from plastic. They are almost impossible to recycle as the plastic is stitched into other materials in complex ways.

An issue with blanket-banning plastic shoes is that vegans among others object to animal products, and natural shoes are made from leather.


  • Repair your shoes- superglue broken soles and replace laces
  • Buy fewer shoes, or get second hand shoes
  • Donate your old shoes to charity shops


Trillions of cigarettes are discarded every year in the west alone. They are flicked onto streets or waterways where they leach nicotine, tar and plastic into the enviroment. You may wonder where the plastic in cigarettes comes from- it’s in the filters of the butt.

Cindy Zipf, the executive director of Clean Ocean Action, says that cigarette butts are the top plastic item found on beaches.

Filters were introduced to reduce the harm from cigarettes, they are supposed to reduce the carcinogens in smoke. The irony is that we have seen no decrease in deaths per percentage smokers- there may be no real benefit to them after all.

Electronic cigarettes, the new craze, generate huge amounts of plastic waste, often being chucked away once their battery or liquid has run out.


  • Put your butts in a bin
  • Roll your own cigarettes
  • Don’t use e-cigarettes unless they can be reused

BOTTLES – 1973

In the 1960’s and before, beverages were bought in glass bottles or aluminum cans, Polyethylene terephthalate (PET for short) changed this completely- it was strong enough to store fizzy drinks, and light and cheap enough to slash costs in production and transportation.

Although bottled water costs up to 10 thousand times more that water from a tap, global sales surpassed soft drink sales in 2016.
PET is recyclable, but the recycle rates remain very low. In the United States, only 7% of new PET bottles are recycled. 93% are discarded and break down into microplastics, causing harm to both wildlife and us.

Many countries are considering bans on plastic bottles, and others are introducing public drinking fountains. An engineering firm in Canada reused bottles as the structure for a house.


  • Carry a reusable bottle with you
  • Choose aluminium cans or glass bottles
  • Find dedicated recycling bins for plastics

Thanks for reading. Please consider implementing some of these tips into your life.

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