We’ve identified the top 20 plastic products & packaging that pollute U.S. watersheds. Unravel the misinformation surrounding plastics with the publication of our BAN List 2.0!
The truth is that straws are just the tip of the trash heap when it comes to plastic waste.
In 2015, plastic consumption worldwide totaled 300 million metric tons. That essentially means that for each one of the world’s 7.6 billion humans, we’re making 88 pounds of plastic a year. The packaging industry is still growing, according to Euromonitor, with flexible plastics leading the pack.
It may seem as though the quarter-of-an-inch diameter drinking straw is the least of our worries. But environmentalists say the fight’s got to start somewhere.
“We look at straws as one of the gateway issues to help people start thinking about the global plastic pollution problem,” Plastic Pollution Coalition CEO Dianna Cohen told Business Insider. “They’ve been designed to be used for a very short amount of time, and then be tossed away.”
Simply put: we have a plastic problem., and it doesn’t end with straws. Cohen is one of many people in the environmental community on a crusade to get people using less plastic.
It’s easy to point out a problem, everyone does it. The real catalyst is in finding out what you can do to solve the issue. Here are some ways you can start making small changes that make a huge impact. Keeping in mind that the overall consensus is to stop using plastic, start reusing products and make sure you recycle!
- Lower your carbon footprint: Our greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change and ocean acidification. By driving less and carpooling, flying less, using less electricity, choosing renewable energy (solar power, hybrid vehicles, etc) whenever possible and voting for policymakers who believe in solving climate change, we can all make a big difference for the ocean and all of life on Earth.
- Choose not to eat marine wildlife: Over-fishing is another huge issue impacting the ocean. By choosing not to eat seafood, or as Dr. Earle calls it, marine wildlife, we can help by showing fisheries that there’s less demand for their fish supply and we want them to leave the fish, mollusks and other edible marine life in the sea where it belongs. Of course, many people around the world depend on protein from the ocean to survive, and artisanal fisheries are crucial for many coastal populations. But in America and other developed countries, we have more of a choice.
- Stop using single-use plastics: Plastic pollution is clogging up waterways and poisoning marine creatures from sea turtles to fish and seabirds. By carrying a reusable water bottle and avoiding using plastic drinking straws, utensils, etc., we can greatly reduce the amount of plastic thrown into landfills that often release plastics into the ocean.
- Start recycling immediately. Recycling saves energy because the manufacturer doesn’t have to produce something new from raw natural resources. By using recycled materials we save on energy consumption, which keeps production costs down. Recycling reduces the need for more landfills. Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste. …Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved.
- Education. Educate yourself, your family and learn about all the harmful, cancer causing affects these plastics have not only on the planet, and ecosystems, but on humans as well.
I invite you to start your education with these two documentaries that show how our actions affect our world, its devastation on life as a whole and what we can do together.
Sources: BI, 5Gyres, Mission Blue, Plastic Ocean
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