Are Single-Use Plastics Really That Bad?



In early January twenty twenty China joined the growing movement of more than one hundred twenty countries pledging to ban single use plastics. The country of at one point four billion citizens is the number one producer of plastic waste in the world top sixteen million tonnes in two thousand ten but China announced that it plans outlaw the production and sale of non degradable bags by the end of twenty twenty in major cities and everywhere by two thousand twenty two as well as single use straws by late. Twenty Twenty Eh. Market Selling Produce will have until twenty twenty-five to follow suit the push to ban plastic took center stage in two thousand eighteen with massive promotions like the Hashtag stop sucking campaign which featured stars like NFL quarterback. Tom Brady pledging to give up single. Use Plastic straws now countries and companies are saying no to plastics by the dozens. Sims and consumers are following along with them and they're serious in Kenya for example. Any citizen caught using plastic bags for trash. Your groceries groceries can face four years imprisonment and fines of up to thirty eight thousand dollars as the plastic span movement hits major milestones such as China's in his latest announcement. We decided to take a moment to unpack the bottles bags and straws that are causing this global stare. So what is single use as plastic true to its name. A single use. Plastic is disposable plastic. It's designed to be used once and then tossed or recycled. This includes everything from plastic water bottles and produce bags disposable plastic razors and plastic ribbons really any plastic item you use and then immediately discard well. These items can be recyclable. That's hardly the norm. We spoke by email with Meagan Weldon of the blog and waste prevention shop. Zero waste nerd word. She said in reality very few plastic items can be processed into new materials and products unlike glass and aluminum plastic isn't processed into the same same item. It was when it was collected by a recycling center. The quality of plastic is downgraded so eventually and inevitably that plastic will still end end up in a landfill. Take a plastic water bottle. Most bottles say they can be recycled and based solely on their easily recyclable. Pet composition position. They could be but nearly seven out of ten bottles end up in landfills or pasta litter. This problem increased when China decided to stop accepting into recycling cycling plastic in two thousand eighteen for municipalities. That meant recycling became significantly pricier and according to the Atlantic many are now simply opting for the need budget friendly landfill over recycling pair this landfill I approach with the world's ever growing plastic consumption. Humans produce almost was twenty thousand plastic bottles per second. According to the Guardian and America's waist grew by four point five percent from twenty ten to twenty fifteen. It's no wonder. The world is overflowing overflowing with plastic waste and think banning all of his plastic is overkill. There are some very solid reasons why it makes sense. I I the plastic and landfills doesn't just go away according to Weld in. A plastic bag takes ten to twenty years to grade while a plastic bottle takes almost five hundred ears. And even when it's gone it's remnants remain. We also spoke by with Catherine Kellogg author and founder of the waste reduction website. Going zero zero waste. She explained plastic. Never breaks down or goes away. It only breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until they're so microscopic that they can be found in on our air and our drinking water. Some grocery stores have switched to biodegradable plastic shopping bags as a way to meat consumers in the middle but research shows that this this is hardly a savvy solution. One study from researchers at the University of Plymouth. England analyzed eighty single. Use Plastic Grocery store bags made of biodegradable plastic nick over the course of three years. They're go to determine. Just how biodegradable these bags really were. The findings were published in the Journal. Environmental Science and technology analogy. They found that soil. Seawater didn't lead to bag rotation instead after those three years. Three of the four types of biodegradable degraded bags were still sturdy enough to hold up to five pounds of groceries. That's about two point. Two kilos and the non biodegradable bags performed the same. The biodegradable beds ads exposed to sun did break down but that's not necessarily a positive either. The small particles from that degradation can quickly spread throughout the environment. Think Air Ocean or the belly of hungry animals who mistake plastic fragments for food another reason. Many countries are prohibiting single. Use Plastics is because they shouldn't be reused used despite our best intentions as many municipalities. Forgo recycling it's tempting to take matters into your own hands by reusing plastic bottles and containers and sure this may work for bags but experts. Say to take caution when it comes to plastic bottles or food containers one study in environmental health. Perspectives showed that all plastics used in food containers and plastic bottles could release harmful chemicals. If used repeatedly this includes those said to be free of BPA a controversial official chemical that's been linked to hormone disruption while researchers are still analyzing the safety of repeated plastic reuse experts recommend glass or metal to avoid potentially harmful chemicals and according to Weldon. It's time we adopt a reuse mindset be cotton produce bags stainless steel straws or full on zero waste.

Coming up next