We all know that plastic has become a growing concern towards humans, animals, and the environment. Although I knew plastic had become a problem I was utterly shocked when I uncovered that plastic fragments are contaminating most of the Earth’s surface and harmful chemicals such as Phthalates and BPA (Bisphenol-A) can be found in the bloodstream and tissues of almost everyone.
In Canada only we use 10 billion plastic bags a year which takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce. Most of the plastic we use does not get recycled and ends up in landfills as well as in our oceans. Much of this non-biodegradable plastic composes 90% of floating ocean trash and in the Pacific has accumulated into The Great Pacific garbage patch: a polluted region in the gyre of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone that is roughly the size of Texas. The plastic items found in our oceans decompose themselves into small particles which in turn are mistakenly confused and ingested as food by marine animals and birds. These sea creatures can also suffocate on plastic items such as bags and six-can pack holders. Fishing lines made of plastic often entangle sea creatures causing them to have trouble eating, breathing, and moving which can all lead to fatality. Plastic pollution affects more than 267 species worldwide, such as 86% of sea turtle species, 44% of sea birds and 43% of marine mammal species.
It is easy to understand that, as civilians of this world, we need to start ditching plastic in our daily lives. Considering that recycling is pretty inefficient, since only about 8% of the containers are actually recycled, I’ve included some tips on how you can reduce your consumption of plastic:
. Replace single-use plastic bags by a reusable tote.
. Use bio-degradable trash bags and dog poopie bags.
. Try to stop using disposable plastics such as plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws and coffee-cup lids. You can buy a reusable coffee cup container for example.
. Buy your products in bulk as opposed to single-serving containers.
. Don’t buy products that contain microbeads which are mainly found in toothpaste, body soaps and facial scrubs.
. Support companies that use recycled plastic. I found a few of them such as Matt & Nat accessories, Method household products, Dakine Men’s Surf Pack and Green Toys.
. Stop buying water in plastic bottles and start carrying a reusable bottle instead.
. Support your local plastic ban.
. Put pressure on corporations by writing a letter or a tweet insisting that they get smarter with their packaging.
. Get involved in a clean-up program by donating to charities such as Sailors in the Sea and Plastic Oceans.
. SPREAD THE WORD!
Every voice counts so let’s hope that together we can make a difference in the modern-day plastic problem we face today.
This problem which is caused solely by humans is entirely preventable.