I am amazed how many people I see using or buying items that will end up in a land fill, in our rivers, lakes and oceans and even on the side-of-the-road. Cigarette packages and cigarettes ends, fast-food wrappers, plastic bags, plastic water bottles, styrofoam containers, beer cans, pop cans, etc. Are we really that distracted to even consider the consequences of our actions when we purchase such items? Because of our demand for such items, we have been depleting earth’s natural resources to a degree that shifted the climate patterns. These products are not made out of thin air, we have to use something to create them, so what big companies turn to in order to meet our consumer demands – the earth. Well, our planet can not take it any more. She is crying out for help and is at the brink of a catastrophic meltdown.
I know that images are more effective to making a point but I thought this time, I will let statistics speak for themselves:
|Total number of plastic bags used worldwide annually
|Total number of plastic bags China consumes everyday
|Total number of plastic bags used every minute
|Total number of years it takes for a plastic bag to degrade
|Total amount of plastic bags that were discarded in 2008
||3.5 million tons
|Total amount of plastic floating in every square mile of ocean
|Average amount of plastic bags consumed per family in 4 trips to the grocery store
|Percent of plastic made every year that will end up in the ocean
|Total amount of plastic bags used by U.S. citizens every year
|Average amount of plastic bottles a U.S. household will use each year
||500 plastic bottles
|Percent of household waste that is plastic
***Take notice of the blue high-lighted stats*** *** above statistics obtained from: http://www.statisticbrain.com/plastic-bag-statistics/ ***
What can we do about this? In terms of plastic bag usage, do what California did and ban them. Ban plastic bags worldwide. We don’t need them. Companies make canvas or nylon bags that can be reused. The majority of grocery stores always have reusable bags at hand. Reusable bags are available almost everywhere, so why the need for plastic?
Plastic bags are not the only problem. How about water bottles? Here are some statistics on water bottles:
- Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year1. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation.
- The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes.
- Last year, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.
- Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year3.
- The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.
- Antimony, which is found in PET plastic bottles, in small doses can cause dizziness and depression; in larger doses it can cause nausea, vomiting and death.
***above statistics obtained via: http://www.banthebottle.net/bottled-water-facts/ ***
So what can we do about this? Here are some suggestions:
Plastic Bags: Don’t buy them anymore. You really have no use for them. Reuse the ones you already have and once they can no longer be used, use cloth bags.
Water Bottles: I don’t know why anyone would buy plastic water bottles in this day and age. Like plastic bags, they are polluting our lakes, oceans and parks, they are harming wildlife and ending up in landfills instead of recycling depots. Buy a reusable one, preferably glass. I use mason jars to drink and store my water and I also have a reusable water container. I buy reverse-osmosis water and go to a water depot to refill my bottles regularly.
Fast Food Containers: Fast-food isn’t good for you. It is always best to make or cook your own food. If you do go out to eat – go to a restaurant that uses metal cutlery and reusable plates or visit a restaurant that has a great recycling program and separate’s food waste, compostable material and plastic. There is a massive shopping mall in downtown Toronto called the Eaton Centre that has adopted the use of reusable cutlery and plates in their food court. As far as I know, the fast food restaurant that isn’t participating is McDonald’s. This initiative was great as it creates jobs and is sustainable. Why is this initiative not used in shopping malls across the nation and around the world? Demand it at your local shopping mall and be the change you want to see in the world!
If I ever purchase meals that come with plastic cutlery – I never throw them out. I wash them and reuse them as long as I can. (You won’t believe how much I have collected and have been reusing).
Each time you buy any of the above items or any other items that have access packaging – remember what you are contributing to: the massive garbage heaps in our oceans, the depletion of earth’s natural resources, the increase of garbage in landfills and the death of all types of animals. It is time that we really look at the consequences of our actions and it is time that we change to ensure the survival of our planet, wildlife and our humanity.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!