WE MADE PLASTIC. WE DEPEND ON IT. NOW WE’RE DROWNING IN IT.
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world’s ability to deal with them.
There is too much plastic in the system
Plastic was invented in 1950, while half of all plastic ever produced was made in the last 15 years. Plastic production globally continues to increase, with the plastic industry projecting a steady growth. Much of that growth is in single-use plastic with no recycled content and at this rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by the year of 2050.
Plastic stays around for hundreds of years or more, every piece of plastic produced still exists and unfortunately only 9% of the plastic ever produced gets recycled; the majority ends up in landfills or in the environment. Until today we have produced around 9.2 billion tons of the plastic products and out of that, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste. And of that waste, a staggering 6.3 billion tons never made it to a recycling bin – a figure that stunned the scientists who crunched the numbers in 2019.
So, what can you do about plastic pollution? Everyone can do something to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the environment. Here are a few ways you can make a difference.
1. Reduce your use of single-use plastics
The best way to do this is by refusing any single-use plastics that you do not need such as plastic straws, bags, takeout utensils, takeout containers and other similar products. By purchasing reusable versions of those products, including reusable grocery bags, bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and dry cleaning garment bags.
2. Recycle properly
Put the waste you produce in a waste bin. This should go without saying, but when you use single-use (and other) plastics that can be recycled, always be sure to recycle them.
3. Buy in bulk.
Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, tiny packages of nuts consider the product-to-packaging ratio of items you tend to buy often and select the bigger container instead of buying several smaller ones over time.
4. Spread the word.
Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and help make others aware of the problem. Tell your friends and family about how they can be part of the solution.
5. Put pressure on manufacturers.
Though we can make a difference through our own habits, corporations obviously have a much bigger footprint. If you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging, make your voice heard – hit them where it really hurts: Give your money to a more sustainable competitor.
Be part of the solution, not pollution!
Plastic is harmful to the environment. We should try our best to reduce our usage of plastic to make the earth a better place again. These few ideas only scratch the surface for ways you can help address the growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment. The important thing is that we all do something against plastic pollution, no matter what small steps do we take as an individual.