This film may change your mind about plastic
Plastic is now so common many people think they can't live without it.
But a new documentary Plastic in the Air provides an update on the latest research about what the use of plastic is costing the world, including that humans are now breathing in nanoplastic particles from the air, as well as some of the harmful myths around recycling.
The 14-minute documentary was developed by the team behind the 2017 documentary A Plastic Ocean, and is a collaboration between science presenter and environmentalist Matthew Shribman and campaign group Plastic Oceans UK.
Its aim is to push for a much faster reduction in plastic use, with the film expected to be shown in schools in the UK and other countries.
While Australia is grappling with a crisis in its recycling industry after China stopped accepting much of its waste, Shribman points out that the recycling of material like plastic is not the answer.
"Single-use plastic needs to stop: recycling isn't enough, and containing our plastic waste is like trying to stuff a sleeping bag into a tiny polystyrene cup," Shribman said.
"Plastic is everywhere now: on the land, in the oceans and even in the air, with London's air more full of plastic than Paris, Hamburg and Dongguan in China combined.
"I made this film hoping it will help to bring about the necessary changes to fight this disastrous plastic crisis."
Plastic Oceans UK director Jo Ruxton said it was hoped the short runtime of the documentary, which is available to watch on YouTube, will make it more accessible.
Here are some troubling facts about plastic highlighted in the documentary:
PLASTIC CANNOT EASILY BE REMOVED FROM THE OCEAN
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not a solid island of waste, but an area of billions of tiny plastic particles that cannot be scraped off the surface without also removing vital plankton and algae. And to make matters worse, most plastic sinks.
RECYCLING IS NOT THE ANSWER
Most plastic can only be recycled about 10 times before it becomes brittle and, if colours are mixed, black; and around 13 per cent of UK recycling currently ends up in landfill.
'ECO' PLASTICS SHOULD BE TREATED WITH CAUTION
Many "biodegradable" plastics are actually tiny pieces of plastic held together by plant material, while most "compostable" plastics will only degrade in industrial facilities.
OCEAN PLASTICS DRIVE AIR POLLUTION
We are all breathing in nanoparticles of plastic, which can cross into our bloodstream.