How you could be eating a credit card per week

How you could be eating a credit card per week

  • Research from Newcastle University estimates that people are ingesting the equivalent of a credit card in plastic every week.
  • The most contaminated source is drinking water from bottles and the tap.
  • What will be done to fix this contamination?

It doesn’t take a scientist to tell us that we (as humans) are using a lot of plastic. However, to think that Aussies could be eating the equivalent of a credit card in plastic every week is pretty alarming.

The University of Australia study commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found that the "global average" rate of plastic consumption could be 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic each week. That's five grams of plastic per week, which is roughly 250 grams per year.

It goes without saying that this is a worrying amount of plastic.

From supermarket bags and single-use plastic to drink bottles and even kids toys. The stuff is everywhere. And now according to this study, it's being ingested by people leading to all sorts of health problems. 

How does plastic end up being ingested?

Water from the tap and bottled water was the largest single source of plastic ingestion. The highest recorded plastic levels included shellfish, beer and salt.

Dr Thava Palanisami said, "In water, it's mostly fibres which could come from industrial activities ... It's released with other gases and chemicals and this can then ultimately sink into the freshwater bodies and that gets into the drinking water.

Since 2000, the world has produced as much plastic as all the preceding years combined, a third of which is leaked into nature.
- Newcastle University

The study led by Thava Palanisami and carried out by a team of microplastics researchers collated the findings of 50 international research papers. So it is drawing on data from many countries, which no doubt have high levels of pollution and very low standards of environmental protection.

What will be done to fix it?

In the financial world of credit cards and home loans, layer upon layer of government and industry are charged with running a tight ship. 

ASIC, APRA, the RBA, AFCA, FOS, MFAA, all the banks, mutuals, card schemes and all credit license holding entities etc have a hand in making sure that the system works.

If it is true that the Australian population are eating the equivalent of a "credit card of plastic" per week – the same as the global average – then our Government bodies and industries have been failing badly in their duty of care. All of us assumed that our water, food and consumable goods are not contaminated.

Plastic affects your financial health too

While we wait to hear more about what is going to be done to fix this plastic contamination, what can you do about your actual credit cards – you know, the ones that you're not eating: 

  • Spend (and repay) responsibly
  • Load your plastic card into your Digital Wallet (Apple Pay + Samsung Pay)
  • Monitor your credit score
  • Compare & replace redundant cards with ones holding good offers

In short, using your credit card too much is never a bad thing if you know how to play the plastic power game.