What items are we talking about? Bottles, bags, utensils, cups, straws, and packaging. Humans buy 1 million plastic bottles per minute, only about 23% of which are recycled. Approximately 4 trillion plastic bags are used annually worldwide, only 1% of which are recycled. Half a million straws are used in the world EVERY DAY.
However, the main cause of increased plastic production is packaging. About a third of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans, the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Even the plastic disposed of in your trash can contribute to pollution, as landfills leak and the wind blows light-weight items away.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Invest in a reusable water bottle.
- Invest in reusable bags. These are available everywhere. Bring them into the store with you.
- Decline use of straws, or bring your own paper or stainless steel straw.
- Stop using plastic utensils and cups.
- When shopping, try to find items with the least packaging, and make your feelings known to corporations, or better yet, reduce your consumption!
Lori O'Dell McCollum, Co-Facilitator
PACG Environmental Forum