Is Plastic Really That Bad?

Plastic bottles washed up on the beach. Grocery bags tangled in tree branches. Candy wrappers blowing along the sidewalk downtown. Litter like this is a daily nuisance. Unfortunately, it only hints at the serious, growing problem that is plastic pollution.

Unless you live along the Pacific Rim—a geographical area that spans the waters from the West Coast of North America to the islands of Japan—you probably don’t experience the massive piles of garbage floating in our oceans on a daily basis.

Exactly how much plastic exists on our planet is still unknown—a thought that is pretty disconcerting, considering the fact that many scientists believe it’s gone missing, dissolving into our water sources.

Many plastics wind up at sea, washing up on remote islands in third-world countries or collecting in sea ice thousands of miles north of civilization. Still other pieces break down into smaller and smaller pieces before being accidentally consumed by creatures in the ocean ecosystem.

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Young albatross have been found dead with their stomachs full of plastic garbage. Sea turtles and whales swallow plastic bags, mistaking them for squid. Parent birds regurgitate plastic bits to feed to their babies; this often kills them. Even zooplankton—an organism that is very low on the food chain—consumes tiny microplastics before being eaten by larger and larger animals, us included.

Plastics are used to make countless everyday products—from toothbrushes to flower pots. It’s used to make our cell phones, our food storage containers, our utensils, our lotion bottles, our calendars and our shoes. When we get tired of these products, those cheap plastics go straight into the garbage, don’t get recycled, then contaminate our groundwater before being washed out into the oceans.

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Friends, this is bad news. And, unfortunately, the answer isn’t ocean cleanup (micro plastics are so small and widespread that there is no way to remove them all), at least not entirely.

The best possible solution is to prevent any more plastic from reaching our oceans. How do we do this? Reduce plastic waste at its source: plastic consumption. Be hyper aware of plastic packaging, recycle all that you can, and refuse to purchase items that use less of it. Sound crazy? It’s difficult, but not impossible. Zero waste individuals all over the world are proving that this is the case, refusing plastic bags, water bottles, styrofoam containers and the like.

Here are a few additional ways you can cut the plastic habit and save our oceans!

  • When you order drinks at a restaurant, ask for no plastic straw.
  • Invest in reusable containers that you can use in place of plastic bags or tupperware.
  • Pick up litter whenever you see it. Seriously. It’ll take just a moment of your time.
  • Refuse to fall into the convenience trap. The things you throw away do not disappear.
  • View plastic items as durable things to hold onto and reuse.
  • Support policy initiatives that prioritize the wellbeing of our beautiful planet.
  • Give gifts that are eco-friendly, post-consumer recycled or long-lasting in nature.

Cleaning up our oceans and protecting our planet is your responsibility. Do not let the trick of convenience compromise your future or the future of those who will come after us. We will be known by the debris we leave behind.

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95 comments

Pietro Maiorana
Pietro Maiorana7 days ago

Al momento sembrerebbe di si

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Louise A
Past Member 14 days ago

Thank you

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Olivia H
Olivia H20 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven23 days ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven23 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S24 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jerome S
Jerome S24 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jessica C
Jessica C28 days ago

thanks

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Dana W
Dana W28 days ago

Thanks

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Ingrid H
Ingrid Habout a month ago

Thank you

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