Have you heard of the “Great Pacific garbage patch“? I didn’t either until last week when I was browsing for facts about recycling plastics. By the way, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, only 9.8% of all plastic bags, snacks and wraps were recycled in 2008, which is only 390,000 of the 3,570,000 tons produced in the year 🙁 That’s sad!
The rest will evidently join the other garbage in the Great Pacific garbage patch! This is actually two large masses of accumulating trash known as Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. The Eastern patch floats between Hawaii and California, the Western patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii.
Plastic waste ends up in this currents of ocean, they break into tiny polymers. Guess what? Small fish feed on them thinking it’s food. Wild life in the near by islands are also in danger; birds and fish die everyday due to consuming garbage. The ones that survive are food for bigger fish like Tuna and Salmon that we eat. So, plastic for dinner anyone???
This plastic consumption is disturbing in many levels. Our nature and wild life, our health and the future of our kids, are all in danger. You should see these pictures, and check out the Plastic Paradise documentary to feel the depth of the problem.
I always take my reusable bags for shopping and recycle my plastic shopping bags if I end up with any. I use reusable sandwich bags for snacks or any item that I used to carry last minute in a plastic bag. I used to be OK with the BPA free plastic containers and water bottles, thinking that these will be recycled. Right? Wrong. Because of the different melting temperature and many other factors they will be down cycled to a less pure product; manufacturers use new materials in their production not the recycled stuff.
What is the solution then? A radical paradigm shift; DON’T BUY PLASTIC IN ANY FORM.
If you have plastics in your household and have to absolutely use them, then recycle if possible. I’m not against recycling, but what I’m against is the peace of mind mentality recycling gives us. We think “wow! good for me, I did something good for the environment; I recycled”. That kind of thinking works for paper, glass, fabric, metal and many more types of material but not plastic. To stop plastic waste we should educate everyone we know and tell them to do the same and not buy plastic. With this method, perhaps the demand will go down and so would the production. The old supply and demand economy model.
Plastics is a huge global problem and we, the moms, should inform as many people as we can about the realities of plastics. This is up to us to try to create a better future for our children. So Don’t buy plastic in any form, or at least try it for a month and see how it feels and affects your life.
In hope of clean oceans and a livable planet for future generations.
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