You know plastic can be recycled, and that it’s in almost everything we use on a daily basis. But did you know these not so fun facts about it?
10 metric tons of plastic is pushed into the Pacific Ocean from the Los Angeles area every. Single. Day. Yes, every single day. This means that the stuff you think you need ends up floating in the ocean and killing sea life, affecting the quality of the water, and the general beauty of our planet.
Do you buy plastic products because you’ve read that they’re biodegradable? Are you picking only biodegradable products because you think they’re safer? Well, think again. It can take a traditional plastic product 500 to 1,000 to degrade, and that’s not taking into account the number of chemicals that are leached into the water or soil where the plastic is degrading. On top of that, most biodegradable products are only biodegradable in the right environment, i.e. not in a recycling plant or in a landfill. Most biodegradable materials need air, water, and heat to degrade properly, and once again, that’s not accounting for the amount of chemicals they release.
You’ve heard of the concerns with BPA, surely. You might buy BPA free water bottles or Tupperware, but what about the BPA lining in our canned food? What about the other thousands of plastic compilations we microwave, put in our clothing, or in our cars? Studies have found that nearly every plastic compound we use in our food products cause cancer in mice over an extended period of time. Plastics have only been commonplace for about 50 years now. What else has increased in that time? Rates of cancer have increased nearly 30% since 1965. Something to think about next time you want to microwave that Tupperware full of food for your kids.
It’s Just Expensive
50% of the plastic we use in the United States every day gets thrown away after a single use. Think about how long it takes for plastic to degrade (500 to 1,000 years!), and then think about that yogurt cup you just threw out. Or the plastic fork you just used. Or the floss pick. Pick anything you throw away on a daily basis, and odds are it was a one-time use thing. Also consider how expensive that is in your budget: can you really afford to just buy something to throw it away? Wouldn’t it be much more cost-effective to buy something that can be used more than once? 35 billion plastic water bottles are also thrown away every year (not recycled). Consider that most plastic water bottles cost about $0.50 per piece (on average). That’s nearly $17 billion people are using and throwing away in the United States alone. We could almost reverse the national deficit with that kind of money. But instead we’re wasting it on single use products that are killing ourselves and the planet.