Death by Plastic – The Insolvency Trap

December and January are wonderful times to be Australian, our weather and location brings us both heat and swimming spots, whilst our employment generally ushers us off on leave to enjoy the scenery.

And cricket, both us and the seagulls consume a serious amount of cricket. Unfortunately, the time honored tradition of both watching cricket with seagulls and hitting a ball near one if you get a game is under threat. The increased accumulation of plastic rubbish, most notably cigarette lighters and bottle caps combined with the over fishing / trawling of our oceans has seen millions of hungry sea birds eat and feed to their children pieces of plastic eventually causing their death. Shocking images can be found across the internet of plastic garbage tumbling out of dead bird’s opened up stomachs. These images and coinciding documentaries make me incredibly sad. Not only for their plight but deep down I know I have contributed to this disaster, deep down I know my consumption of certain plastic goods is not making the world a better place.

Oceancrusaders.org estimates that one million sea birds die each year from the ingestion of plastic and it isn’t just happening in far off fantasy lands, it is happening right here. A very close relative of mine on his quad annual trip up north commented on the odd amount of dead birds washed up on a particular beach. It is tragic, deeply disturbing and ultimately to remain professional I have to segway to a lighter note on plastic.

Ironically, in the insolvency world I see how the consumption of plastic and other consumer goods enable another most damaging form of plastic. The infamous credit card.

According to RBA statistics in February 1985 the total recorded amount of credit card transactions by Australians in that month was $538 million peaking at an amount of $23,867 million in November 2013. This upward trend is mimicked by personal insolvency statistics (including debt agreements). Clearly the increased accessibility of credit has increased the financial turmoil and stress associated with the repayment of credit during difficult periods. As a way of dealing with the increased financial turmoil and stress from the increased credit unknowing individuals obtain further credit / credit cards to pay for the outstanding previously obtained falling into the notorious plastic or credit card trap.

credit card trap

In Australia, however, we are lucky to have a personal insolvency system that aims to both educate and financially rejuvenate individuals in caught in a high interest plastic trap.

I can only wish that the sea birds could be so lucky.

If you have a client or are in financial difficulty note that as Registered Trustees, we understand the sensitivities in dealing with individuals that get into credit card crisis and importantly helping them understand the options available to them with a focus on the future. With so much information available on the internet these days it can be at times confusing for individuals that are already overwhelmed to get the right direction. We always encourage them to get professional advice to discuss their specific circumstances particularly on such an important issue.