The perils of plastic

by Emma K.

Plastic is everywhere. For an invention that was only made a little over 100 years ago, it has managed to take over our planet and our lives. Plastic is used or found in most of the things you use everyday. 

One of the most common plastics is Single-use plastics. Single use plastics are pieces of plastic that are only used once and then thrown away. 

For example, you get take-out food from somewhere and it comes with plastic silverware. This plastic silverware is also wrapped in clear plastic. The plastic wrapping has one use, that is to hold the silverware, then it is thrown away. Then the plastic silverware is only used to eat the food and then it is thrown away but maybe the knife in the plastic silverware wasn’t even used so it is even more wasteful. 

Single use plastics are extremely wasteful and harmful to the environment, and there is so much of it because plastic, especially single use plastic is everywhere in our lives. 

Microplastics and chemicals in plastics have been found in the human body. This is very problematic and we still don’t know what the long term health effects are. 

Plastic has been found on the highest and lowest parts of the earth. Recently there has been plastic found on Mount Everest and there has also been plastic found in the Mariana Trench. 

Plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. That means that every piece of plastic that was first made in 1907 is still around today, either floating in our oceans or sitting around on land. 

There are many things that a person can do to limit the amount of single use plastics in their lives. 

Reusing plastic is probably the best way to limit your use of single use plastics and still help the environment overall. I know it may sound weird saying that you should use other plastic products but the difficult things about plastic is that it is super easy, affordable and clean(environmentally) to make. 

For example, when it comes to plastic bags at the grocery store, those are super easy to reuse. They don’t get dirty easily and probably won’t break until after a couple uses. However, there are fabric bags that you can use for grocery shopping, but those are not always good for the environment. These bags are made in factories that produce a lot of greenhouse gases that hurt the environment just as much as plastic does. 

So if the situation is right, try reusing these single use plastics because if everyone did this, our environment would be in much better shape. 

You can not always reuse single use plastics so there are still ways to reduce your single use plastic use. You can use alternatives for single use plastics. If you are using a single use plastic water bottle, consider changing that and using a reusable plastic or metal bottle instead. 

If you are getting take out, consider asking for no silverware with it and using your own metal silverware instead. Use metal straws instead of plastic—you could even use reusable plastics straw instead but those usually take up a lot of space. 

Many companies or small businesses have moved to using paper straws instead of plastic which is very environmentally smart because paper is also easy to produce but will break down. Another example is using cardboard instead or styrofoam or plastic because cardboard will break down much quicker than plastic or styrofoam ever will. 

Some other ways to reduce single use plastic making your own cleaning products. Having multiple plastic bottles of toxic cleaners is not always healthy so it is better to make your own and reuse bottles. 

Diapers are also a big problem for the environment. One baby can use thousands of diapers and diapers account for 7 percent of nondurable household waste. It is much better to use cloth/reusable diapers instead of disposable ones. 

There are so many different ways to reduce the amount of plastic you use and even doing one of these things will be helpful for the environment.

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