9K Geography Class Study Single Use Plastic

Single-use plastic is not so fantastic!

The Issue

Single-use plastics represent the essence of today’s throwaway culture. Shockingly, we have produced more plastic in the last 10 years than during the whole of the last century!

The UN defines single-use plastic as plastic “items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled”. Examples include plastic cutlery, plastic straws, plastic bags, polystyrene or plastic containers etc.

Today 95% of plastic packaging is wasted after a single use and single-use plastic is only in people’s lives on average 2 minutes before it is thrown away.

Most of our plastic ends up in landfills, our oceans and waterways, and the environment. Plastic has huge effects on the Earth because it takes thousands of years to decompose. It is hard to believe that if plastic pollution continues at the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050!


The Mission

Year 9 students from St Louise’s Comprehensive College decided that it was time to help tackle the problem of single-use plastic in their local community. On Sunday 3rd March they went to St George’s Market in Belfast to survey the public and the food vendors on single-use plastic.

More than one million people visited this market between 1st January and 31st December last year and many of them enjoyed the international food served at the market. However, the majority of food vendors use single-use plastic at their stalls and the number and location of recycling bins within the market is not suitable for the amount of plastic and polystyrene being used.

St Louise’s pupils would like to see a plastic-free market and support traders and St George’s Market in creating a new selling point as an ‘Eco-Friendly’ Market, and in turn attract more people! Carrying out a survey was the first step in making this happen.

Watch our video on single use plastics by clicking on the following link:





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