What is an eco-friendly or sustainable lifestyle? Most products sold today are encased in plastic to prevent contamination or tampering with contents. This contributes to an accumulation of waste on our planet. Where does this waste end up? Most of it ends up in a landfill. The rest litters our sidewalks, streets and waterways. It is possible to change our habits to create a better world for our children.
Plastics do not decompose like other kinds of trash. They break down into smaller microplastic pieces that can end up in our drinking water, our food, and in us.
Turtles, dolphins, whales and sea birds die each year. They either ingest or become entangled in plastic. Plastics not only contaminate our waterways and oceans but fill up our landfills.
Big oil and gas love plastic for more than 99% is from fossil fuels, especially fracking gas. Petrochemical plants release greenhouse gases and other noxious chemicals into the atmosphere. Nearby communities breathing contaminated air currently suffer from asthma, COPD, allergies and cancer.
The United States already produces the most plastic waste of any country. 91% never gets recycled. Where does it go? Countries that are struggling to maintain their own waste, receive it.
I see more plastic related products littering our roadsides than ever before. The major culprits are empty water bottles and fast food containers. Other litter consists of gum and candy wrappers. Lingering smells lure stray and wild animals — ingesting these can kill them.
My personal heartrending experiences
I rescued a struggling duck from plastic rings that hold six pop containers together. An overhanging branch had snared the rings, making it difficult for even me to extract it. The bird was weak and exhausted from futile attempts to free itself. He could have died.i
Another time I came upon a trapped snapping turtle. An abandoned fishing line on a branch near the Mississippi River snared it.
I was a Campground Host in a State Park in Oregon and found the body of a chipmunk outside its den. A piece of plastic protruded from its mouth. It had snagged a food wrapper from a fire ring. The plastic was responsible for its death.
Do you have personal tragic stories to tell also. Food odors attract animals like a magnet. They’ll attempt to eat anything that promises a delicious snack.
Potential worldwide solutions
We’re facing an indisputable plastic pollution crisis. We cannot delay taking corrective action. Commonsense measures must happen now:
One major success story
Nestle Philippines has completed its first year of plastic neutrality in August 2021. One year ago the company collected and diverted over 27,000 tons of plastic waste. They promise to commit to a waste-free future by 2025.They are looking for more sustainable packaging. The Philippines is the third largest source of ocean plastic worldwide.
The waste they collect is co-processed in cement kilns at a very high temperature. This breaks down complex materials into simpler compounds. The minerals are completely recovered and used to process cement.
This food and beverage manufacturer has a major presence in the country. They want to confront the urgent issues that our planet faces. It is an important environmental milestone to date. Nestle has demonstrated positive results. May its example prompt the rest of the world to follow suit to a healthier environment.
New life for bottles
Already in London, efforts to reduce plastic bottles abound. They propose building new fountains to refill bottles throughout the city. Marathoners receive edible seaweed pouches containing a sports drink to slake their thirst. A department store has vanquished plastic beverage bottles from its food court. They’re offering glass bottles, aluminum cans and refilling stations.
Printer ink cartridges, fence posts, roofing tiles, carpets, flooring and boats use plastic. A three-story, plastic bottle, category 5 hurricane building stands in Nova Scotia.
Join the worldwide effort to eliminating plastic pollution
Vow to make your own commitment to reduce plastic waste. Carry a reusable beverage container. Do your grocery shopping with reusable totes or ask for paper instead of plastic bags. Recycle empty plastic bottles. Refrain from littering.
Together we can make this a better world for future generations!