In recent years, a shift has taken place in the way we perceive plastic products and single-use items. Starting with the imposed ban on free plastic carrier bags all the way back in 2014, the environmental landscape of the UK has gradually changed for the better to favour reusable over single-use, paper over plastic, sustainability over convenience, and rightly so.

Despite the efforts taken so far to stem the causes of rampant plastic pollution, the global state of play regarding our penchant for polyethylene seems worrisome at best. Startling statistics include an annual deposit of 18 billion pounds of plastic into our oceans and seas. Such a high number can be difficult to accurately visualise and comprehend so here’s another way to phrase it: the weight of plastic finding its way into our oceans every year is akin to 1.5 million fully grown African elephants or 72 thousand blue whales. To call this a large amount of rubbish is an understatement.

So what happens to all that plastic bulk once it reaches the water? Unlike natural materials, plastic does not decompose meaning it will exist there indefinitely, posing a threat to marine life and the delicate ecosystems of the world’s oceans until action is taken. Even when plastics break down they become microplastics, tiny particles that find their way into the stomachs of marine animals and the very seafood we enjoy. Ultimately plastic waste increases the scarcity of life in our oceans and on our planet, whether it’s through plastic ingestion by fish, acceleration of “dead zones” where oxygen and life are absent (there are currently 500 in existence, set to double every decade), or through the destruction of marine ecosystems and plant life which happens to be the source of 70% of the world’s oxygen.

For every damaging practice responsible for the unprecedented pollution we’re currently facing, there are several groups and individuals dedicated to solving the problems being created. Recently 100 tonnes of plastic waste was removed from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (that’s one blue whale’s worth of waste accounted for), a mass of marine debris located in the North Pacific Ocean and clumped together by natural currents. Projects such as this combined with individual actions of reducing plastic purchases, recycling, and reusing pre-existing plastics (see our Earth Day blog) are vital for securing a healthy ecosystem and climate for generations to come.

Voyager Empties Scheme

Aside from stocking reusable products with natural or recyclable packaging, Voyager has launched a new “Empties Scheme” to incentivise sustainable habits by way of an offered discount in our St. Andrews, Dundee, and Edinburgh stores. Simply return the empty bottle or container of a used Voyager product for £1 off your next in-store purchase* and we’ll reuse or recycle the packaging where possible to reduce unnecessary waste. Win-win! 

Voyager holds trust, integrity, and sustainability as core company values and encourages individuals and other businesses alike to adopt sustainable practices in day-to-day life to aid in the effort toward a more pollutant-free future. Furthermore, we remain open to suggestions regarding our own business practices and gladly invite relevant feedback on our sustainability efforts.

*up to a total discount of £5, the discount must be redeemed on the same day.