May 06, 2021
Single use plastics
Since the famous line from the 1967 film,“The Graduate,” in which Dustin Hoffman’s character, Ben, is told the future is “one word, plastics,” single use plastics have become ubiquitous in our environment. First invented in 1907, plastics were not heavily in rotation until the 1940’s when they were used to in place of natural materials for parachutes, helmets and airplanes for use in WWII. By the 1970s plastic was being used more than steel. At that point no one understood what a problem plastics would become. Plastic is durable, inexpensive, and convenient. The issue is that plastic can take up to 1000 years to degrade which leaves thousands of tons of plastics being dumped into our oceans and landfills every year. Sadly, under 10% of the plastic even gets recycled. 50% of that plastic is from single-use options.
So, what can we do? The answer is simple. Reduce the use of single-use plastics and choose more reusable or biodegradable options.
This has become more normalized in our culture. In fact, New York passed a bill in October of 2019 to ban their use with the exception of bags for produce, meat, fish, newspapers and restaurant take-out food. This is a great step, but we can go further.
Use reusable drink containers
Buying a bottle in the market is convenient, but the impact is devastating. 500 billion plastic bottles are used every year with 60 million bottles being thrown away in America every day.
Sustainable disposable cutlery
Instead of those plastic forks and knives that you use for 10 minutes and then end up in the ocean for 1000 years, use ones that are biodegradable and sustainable.
Making these small changes can make a giant impact on our environment. The little choices we make every day can add up to a healthier future.