'Single-use' named 2018 word of the year - RNY News

'Single-use' named 2018 word of the year

November 19, 2018

Liam Taylor

In yet another sign of growing awareness and concern for global plastic consumption and its impact on our natural environment, 'single-use' has been named the Collins' Word of the Year 2018.

In yet another sign of growing awareness and concern for global plastic consumption and its impact on our natural environment, ‘single-use’ has been named the Collins’ Word of the Year 2018.

The word is most commonly used to refer to products that are intended to be only used once before being disposed of permanently. In the past year, numerous videos depicting the environmental impact of single-use products have gone viral, whilst the issue was also highlighted in the BBC’s Blue Planet II series.

In 2016, world plastics production totalled around 335 million metric tons, with roughly half of that total destined to be used in single-use product manufacturing. The majority of these plastics wind up in landfill, a serious issue in itself, however a significant percentage also winds up in waterways and oceans around the world. It is now estimated that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, much of which originated from single-use products.

According to lexicographers at Collins, use of the word has increased four-fold in just the past five years reflecting growing public awareness of this significant environmental issue.

“Selected as the #CollinsWOTY 2018, ‘single-use’ captures a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products,” an exerpt from the Collins website explained.

“From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment.”

In recent times in Australia a number of positive actions have been implemented in order to reduce single-use plastic consumption. Earlier this year single-use plastic bags were banned in both Woolworths and Coles, Australia’s major supermarkets, while Queensland’s newly instated container deposit scheme (Containers for Change) collected more than five million containers in its first week.


Positive Action

  • Avoid single-use products wherever possible, especially plastics. Fabric bags, jute bags and backpacks can be substituted for plastic bags, tuppaware provides an alternative to take-out packaging and your mouth can drink just fine without a straw!
  • If you do need to dispose of single-use plastic products, check Recycling Near You to find out if it can be recycled through a program such as REDcycle.


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 

Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.