According to National Public Radio (NPR), plastic is just a form of fossil fuel. Your plastic water bottle, your grocery bag, your foam tray full of cucumbers … they’re all made from oil or natural gas. It takes lots of energy to make that happen.
According to Earth Law Center, there are plenty of downsides of plastics.
First, plastics threaten the survival of many species of wildlife, negatively impacting nearly 700 species worldwide.
Second, plastic products serve as a conduit for the release and travel of toxins into and through freshwater and marine food chains, posing a threat to wildlife, public health, and the fishing industry.
Third, “Emissions from plastics production and incineration could account to 56 gigatons of carbon between now and 2050.” said Carroll Muffett, head of the Center for International Environmental Law. That’s 56 billion tons, or almost 50 times the annual emissions of all of the coal power plants in the U.S.
“The key message that people should take away is that the plastics crisis is a climate crisis hiding in plain sight,” Muffett says.
Facts about Plastic’s Effect on the Environment:
- Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment. For more information.
- Micro-plastics have been found in 83% of drinking water. For more information.
Tips about what we as individuals can do to help and make big impacts together:
- Be Aware. Reduce: Look for products that use less packaging. Reuse: Buy reusable over disposable items. Recycle: Inform yourself on what your local recycling provider accepts. Visit epa.gov for more detailed information.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle single-use plastics. Participate in local beach cleanups. Support environmental organizations; such as 4Ocean and Ocean Conservancy.