5 Reasons Why You Need to Give Up Plastic this Earth Day

With Earth Day on all of our minds, it’s a good time to start taking some tangible, quantifiable steps to reducing our environmental impact. Driving more eco-friendly cars, investing in solar power and shopping local are all fashionable (and of course, great steps!), but our favorite Earth Day resolution this year is reducing your plastic consumption.

When you think about it, plastic is pretty much everywhere these days, from shipping materials to health food products. Here are five reasons you should give up (or at least greatly reduce) your plastic consumption:

It’s Accumulating in the Ocean

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been common knowledge among environmentalists for years, but recently, we collectively learned that this patch of plastic is even worse than we’d feared. The “patch” is now estimated to be 4 to 16 times larger than originally thought, according to NPR.

In addition to recognizable items like water bottles, fishing supplies, plastic bags and buoys, the garbage patch is cluttered with tiny, nearly invisible plastic particles called microplastics, which are essentially the remnants of trash that’s already been broken down. Plastic is not a material that quickly and easily breaks down, so its memory remains in the ecosystem long after its usually short-lived human use has expired.

Related: What Happens to a Plastic Bag After You Throw It Away

It’s Killing Wildlife

Speaking of the garbage patch, plastic that collects in forests and waterways is slowly killing countless animals. Turtles and birds have long been known to get trapped in plastic bags, soda rings and other plastic items, but that’s only the beginning. According to National Geographic, seabirds around the world are regularly consuming plastic — and it’s slowly killing them.

It’s Responsible for a Huge Number of Carbon Emissions

About 6 percent of global oil consumption can be attributed to plastic use, according to Time for Change. And as we all know by now, oil production comes at a major price to the environment. Time for Change also points out that the production of plastic bags and bottles generates 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic.

It Could Be Impacting Your Health

Most scientists agree that too much exposure to plastics can cause major health issues. The question is usually “how much is too much?”, but when you consider the risks, you may decide that you want to avoid plastic at all costs.

Plastics contain chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body, an activity called “estrogenic activity.” The presence of synthetic estrogens has been linked to a number of different health concerns, including developmental and hormonal issues as well as many cancers.

It Could Impact the Health of Your Children and Grandchildren

Finally, those synthetic chemicals can wind up in the bodies of future generations. A huge study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal found an average of 200 industrial chemicals, a number of which are transferred from plastics, in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. If that isn’t enough to scare you away from plastics, I don’t know what is!

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Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thanks for posting.

Past Member
Past Member 7 months ago

Enough plastic pollution already! I, for one, agree with you, Sarah Hill :-)

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill9 months ago

I say, let’s go back to using glass bottles and jars! Plastic leeches into our foods and changes the taste.

Thomas M
Past Member 10 months ago

Thanks for the update

cara d
cara d10 months ago

now that they understand what plastic is doing , inventors. are finding new and safer material.

Sharon S
Sharon S10 months ago

One reason is sufficient, a clean environment to live in , well actually two I guess because all the chemicals used to produce the plastic & the resources increase our carbon imprint. The health of the planet should be enough reason.

Fred Campbell
Fred Campbell11 months ago

Reuse and recycle if we must use plastic! Cloth reusable shopping bags are a great way to avoid plastic.

Edgar Z
Edgar Zuim11 months ago

Just only one reason, is for me is enough. Our planet isn't a trash can.

Carole R
Carole R11 months ago

I agree with Peggy. The pic is a disgrace. Shame on litterbugs.

Peggy Peters
Peggy Peters11 months ago

The picture for this article could make anyone sick. Very disturbing.