We live in a throw away society. Most of the things we buy every day are made from plastic.
The plastic water bottles, plastic packaging in the items we buy on-line, the plastic packaging with personal care products, toys, tools, household items, all add up to a lot of plastic! This plastic is mostly thrown in the garbage after only one use and either sent to a landfill, burned in an incinerator, or ends up in the ocean, where it slowly decomposes and becomes a health threat to marine life.
Of course, plastic is made from oil, a fossil fuel. When it is burned, it produces greenhouse gases which in turn contribute to climate change. It’s true that many kinds of plastic can be recycled, but a very small percentage of the total is actually recycled. A large amount of it ends up as litter and eventually in the oceans, where it kills marine life. Even if you want to ignore the environmental consequences of plastic garbage, you can’t ignore the fact that plastic containers expose consumers to dangerous levels of BPA and other endocrine disruptors, which cause cancer and other deadly illnesses.
What can we do about this problem? We can minimize our exposure to plastics by consciously avoiding products made from plastic! Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, disposable razors, disposable utensils, disposable plastic plates, disposable plastic cups, we can fill our reusable metal water bottle with filtered tap water, buy re-usable razors, and use reusable metal utensils, ceramic plates and cups, etc. Is that really so hard to do?
The Earth Day Network has a new campaign to End Plastic Pollution. They have lots of cool educational materials you can use for yourself or in the classroom. Visit www.EDN.org for more information.