Midway is one of the most remote islands on earth, populated by amazing birds, including albatrosses. But Midway is in crisis, due to the plastic waste that sits in the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. Albatrosses that nest on the island now routinely collect plastic rubbish to feed their chicks, many of whom die, their stomachs full of plastic.
It's a tragic story and one that points up the global effects of our addiction to plastic (and our inability to re-use it or to dispose of it safely).
Photographer and film maker Chris Jordan and his team visited Midway to film the heartbreaking story of what plastic pollution is doing to the island and its wildlife. You can watch a trailer of the film here and read more about the project here. The film is still in production but looks as though it will be unmissable when it's released.
There are many ways you can reduce your plastic use, for example:
1) refuse plastic carrier bags - carry a reusable bag with you (and incidentally avoid picking up loads of reusable bags, as it takes as much energy to make every reusable bag as to make about 50 plastic bags. Once you've got three or four reusable bags make sure you carry them with you and use them all the time)
2) avoid products wrapped in plastic or made from plastic
3) Don't buy bottled water - carry a reusable water bottle with you. Give Me Tap is a project that started in Manchester and is spreading across England. They have established a network of pubs and cafes that will let you refill your water bottle from their taps. Don't be tempted to buy a bottle of water and reuse that, as the plastic in bottles can leach into the water and then into your digestive system.
4) Pick litter while you're out walking in the countryside. Ironically, the best container to put the collected litter in is a plastic bag, but often you will find stray plastic bags along the path that you can use in this way.
5) Make art out of plastic waste! Olympia Dumpster Diver's blog is full of ideas for making arts and crafts out of plastic and other waste material. Do make sure that you are using waste plastic for your art though, buying new plastic items to make artworks would be missing the point...
3) join in campaigns for example to ban the plastic bag in your city, county, state or nation. For example, in Edinburgh there is Ban Plastic Bags Edinburgh.
4) become informed! There are lots of good resources out there. One of my favourite anti-plastic blogs is My Plastic Free Life (formerly Fake Plastic Fish). There are also a number of organisations concerned with reducing plastic use, such as the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
What are your top tips to reduce plastic use, especially during the festive season?
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.