Single-Use Plastics are Dangerous & Old Fashioned; Time for a New Way of Thinking

We live in a society obsessed with convenience, and that obsession has made plastic king. Though humankind has greatly benefited from plastic, the environmental costs of this reigning polymer may bring about our downfall.  Earth 911

 

I began writing about the dangers of single-use plastics and the damage they inflict on our environment in 2008. At that time, I thought surely once people understood how harmful plastics were they would want to do something.

I WAS WRONG!

To my shock, I found many people who were insulted and angry at the thought of giving up their plastic bags and bottles. 

I thought surely once people understood, the massive numbers of birds, animals, sea creatures of every type that are maimed, killed, that needlessly suffer, that people would want to change … to spread the word.

I WAS WRONG!

We are fast reaching a tipping point where there is more plastic trash and debris than plankton. It is projected that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish! I’m betting it will be sooner than that!

This issue is not like global warming! There is no argument. The evidence is right is front of us. Many believe that the issues surrounding the dumping of plastics in our oceans and in our environment are MORE serious than climate change.

Remember, we are what we leave behind!

As we approach 2018, ask yourself what your legacy will be?

Again from Earth 911:

As any good eco-warrior knows, prevention starts at home. There are a number of ways you can avoid adding to the growing plastic pollution problem.

  • Stop using disposable plastics: The vast majority of the plastic products we encounter on a daily basis are used once and then thrown away. Think about it: grocery bags, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee cup lids — how many times do you use these things more than once? The best thing you can do is to replace these items with reusable versions. Bring your own bags to the store, carry a travel mug to the coffee shop, and stash silverware and a reusable water bottle in your bag.
  • Blacklist products that contain microbeads: Micro-beads are found in beauty products from facial scrubs to toothpaste. Though these tiny plastic beads seem harmless, their size allows them to slip through filters at water-treatment plants and make it to the ocean — where they end up being eaten by fish. Use products that have natural exfoliants, like oatmeal, sugar or salt, instead.
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle: If you’re not sure what can go in the bin, check out this handy guide: The Ultimate Plastic Breakdown.
  • Advocate for a bag tax or ban: Encourage your elected officials to join multiple other cities and counties by introducing legislation that would make plastic bag use less worthwhile.
  • Insist manufacturers do better: Write a letter, make a phone call or contact companies via social media compelling your favorite companies to use eco-friendly packaging. If they brush you off, you can hit them where it really hurts and give your money to more-sustainable competitors.

 

Single-Use Plastic Bags & Bottles Destructive to Our Oceans, Our World

There was a time, not that long ago when you would see countless cigarette butts littering the landscape. Then, something happened ever so slowly, the ugly disgusting cigarette butts began disappearing from bars and restaurants, parking lots, sidewalks, beaches, ashtrays in public and private buildings.

People finally got the message that smoking was not cool but was detrimental to health of everyone surrounded by the smoker.

Can the same thing happen with single-use plastic bags and bottles? I think it can … with YOUR help.  Imagine a world without plastic debris and SAY NO TO PLASTICS

Will Pharrell’s Documentary ‘The Plastic Age’ Help Lessen Our Plastic Addiction?

Pharrell Williams has joined the fight to save our oceans. He talks about his love for the oceans and our need to save them in a new i-D documentary, The Plastic Age.  Let’s face it, how can anyone not like Pharrell, a man whose music impacts countless millions of fans? Clearly, Pharrell knows how get a message out.

His message, let’s turn ocean plastic into something fantastic! This is a very good thing.

He has joined forces with Bionic Yarn to produce a fashion line of denim clothing, G-STARR RAW which is made from recycled plastic trash.  Pharrell is a celebrity joining forces with other talented people to find a solution to a very significant worldwide environmental problem. This is also a very good thing.

The question is, will his efforts motivate enough people to focus on the kind of change needed to meet this global problem head on? Sadly, I think not.

I began writing about the worldwide addiction to all things plastic, mostly single-use plastic bags, in 2008. The devastation caused to birds, animals on land as well as creatures in the sea is unconscionable.  Plastic pollution harms people in the poorest countries the most. These are people without a voice who suffer incredible hardships, as the 17 pictures from The Guardian on-line demonstrate.

Chemicals from the plastics are entering the marine food chain.  Bisphenol –A, a chemical used in the production of plastics is a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor. The New York Times  recently reported that BPA has been linked to rapid rises in blood pressure. It is known to be especially harmful to infants.

I believed once people were alerted to the unimaginable environmental damage caused by plastic pollution change would surely take place. I was wrong.

Our worldwide addiction to plastics is much stronger than could be imagined. But even stronger is the reluctance of people to give up their single-use plastic bags and bottles because it inconveniences them.

Since the time of the cavemen, trash has been thrown out with little thought of its impact on the environment. That was okay when the earth was inhabited by a few million people.

With the world’s population approaching 9 billion people, this behavior is no longer acceptable.

Earth Day 2015; why are you still using single-use plastic bags & bottles?

I have been writing about plastic debris and the environment since 2008. At that time few people were aware of the consequences of plastic trash, knew about the 5 Gyres, or the devastation caused by countless millions of people choosing convenience over common sense! Prior to the April 2009 Earth Day show Oprah did on ” The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” no one knew about the many species of birds, marine life and mammals suffering the consequences of plastic trash, most dying slow deaths.

Trash left behind after Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day Concert.

Trash left after Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day Concert.

This is simple. Now we know about the tragic consequences that single-use plastic bags and bottles are. We know plastic trash and debris are a scourge that is devastating the world’s environment. Plastic pollution is found in every corner of the earth even in the Arctic and Antarctic, the Sahara Desert!  It is in our oceans, our lakes and streams and on land virtually everywhere.

Unlike global warming aka climate change there is no controversy. Plastic pollution is real and it is here now. Unfortunately, the Earth Day organization is not the place to look for real solutions.

The axiom, “nothing speaks louder than words” is not true. The truth is, nothing speaks louder than actions! These pictures show the actions of faux greenies, professing their love of the environment while drinking out of plastic bottles and using plastic bags.

EARTH DAY TRASH2

Faux-greenies leave behind mountains of plastic trash after pre-Earth Day 2015 event!

Unfair you say? Well just take a look at Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day Concert once the event ended.  The pre-Earth Day event was held on the Washington Mall on April 19, 2015.

Hoards of faux-greenies got  together to listen to music and  talk about their love of the environment while leaving behind massive amounts of plastic trash!

The concert itself was solar-powered, which obviously is good. However, the pictures of the mountains of single-use plastic bottles, plastic bags and Styrofoam trash left behind show what a truly epic failure Earth Day is 45 years later!

Let me ask again, are you STILL using single-use plastic bags and bottles while proclaiming your love for the environment? If so, why?

More importantly, what will it take for you to give up your addiction to the stuff?

Is It Time For a Worldwide Ban on Single-use Plastic Bags?

Let me state for the record, that with few exceptions, I do not like governmental bans or restrictions on personal behavior. That means the number of ounces of soda one can drink, or the amount on salt or kind of light bulbs that can be used; all should be off limits to the nosey bureaucrats’ intent on controlling every aspect of our daily lives.
There are, however, exigent circumstances when the harm being done is so massive that intervention in the form of bans is necessary. So it is with the worldwide pollution caused by the indiscriminate use of plastics for convenience rather than necessity.
Unlike climate change, very few are challenging the reality of the plastic trash and debris crisis. Estimates of single-use plastic bags range from 500 billion to 1 trillion bags worldwide every year. Virtually no corner of the globe has been left uncovered by plastic trash. Very few pristine locations remain unsullied.
Whether we are talking about whales off the coast of Spain , cows in India, or camels in the Egyptian desert or monkeys in East Java, globally many thousands of animals die ingesting plastics and then dying of starvation every year.
The Blue Danube is loaded with more trash than fish. Mount Everest is a mountain of trash and garbage. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of ocean pollution comes directly from plastics in the form of plastic bags, toothbrushes, containers of every shape and description, toys, and bottles. Time Magazine covered The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2012, one of the Five Gyres circulating in the oceans.

When Rolling Stone covered the Plastic Bag Wars in 2011, they noted that American shoppers used 102 billion plastic bags yearly. That figure has gone up to 380 billion bags yearly. It is very easy for a family of four to go through 500 plastic bags a year. Remember these are bags designed to last forever and are only used for 15 minutes or less on average.

With all this plastic being produced every year, you’d better believe manufacturers are fighting back using intimidation and litigation in their arsenal of tactics.

Why should you care?

  1. Plastic never goes away. Every piece of plastic produced in the last 50 years still exists unless it was recycled.
  2. 93% of Americans aged six or older have tested positive for BPA, a cancer causing chemical used in plastics.
  3. The search for lost Malaysian flight 370 has been hampered by the global marine litter crisis, as reported by CNN.
  4. The Plastic Bag Report lists 27 states, multiple countries, 102 cities in California and EU with complete bag bans or bans in various stages of legislation.
  5. The list of species testing positive for plastic in their bodies is growing, including 44 percent of all birds, 22 percent of cetaceans and turtles.

A better question is what kind of world do you want to leave to future generations? We are after all only as good as what we leave behind. As Captain Charles Moore notes we should be living our lives like it matters.