how to solve the plastic problem

Do they work? To convert these plastics into oil, PK Clean first shreds them. Avoid Using Bottled Water. Pass up plastic bottles. Historians may one day look back at our era as the time of plastics. When BPA is used in food or beverage containers, not all of the chemical gets sealed into the product. So by focusing on eliminating these items, we can start to chip away at the larger issue of single-use plastics. And it’s usually bad for you, too. In response to growing public outcry, some companies are starting to willingly cut back or eliminate single-use plastics, particularly straws: In recent years, much of the outcry around plastic has focused on single-use bags and straws, without as much focus on other plastic items like packaging materials and food containers. BPA is a known hormone disruptor and strongly linked to a number of diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer, infertility, low sperm count, liver problems, and ADHD. Get the facts, and find out how you can take action to solve the plastic problem and cut back on your use of single-use plastics. While bioplastics are typically considered more environmentally-friendly than traditional plastics, they aren’t a catch-all solution. The resource depletion/plastic pollution problem may be partly mitigated via the reuse economy, which involves some degree of reusing or repurposing of items, although non-recyclable waste is still generated, while the circular economy aims to avoid the production of waste altogether, with maximum recycling as an essential component, being modelled on the way natural systems operate, … But unless you’re Superman and have X-ray vision, you can’t see through these, which is why I prefer glass at home because it helps to keep the fridge organized so you can see your food. An interesting article in Scientific American interviews several scientists who agree that a three-step solution is needed to solve microplastic pollution. Avoiding single-use plastic may mean having to change your lifestyle. A circular economy is a system where materials are used in multiple ways many times during their lifecycle, which has huge potential to reduce resources, litter and landfill. The hardest place for us to ditch plastic is in the freezer. Information and resources shared by FRN are for informational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any type of disease or condition. Ocean Plastic Pollution Will Triple by 2040 Without Drastic Action. Throwaway plastic was convenient, cheap, and human-made, and there was a seemingly endless supply. And many of us look for more sustainable alternatives. Fish and other invertebrates are eating microplastics (broken down pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long) by the ton. They’re labeled with numbered codes, helping you determine which kind of plastic you’re dealing with and if you can recycle it. The shreds are then entered into a reactor — which runs at about 400 degrees Celsius — where a catalyst helps degrade the plastics’ long carbon chains. Can banning plastic bags and straws really help solve the waste problem? Most consumers are aware of the problems with pollution that plastic bags cause. We need government action. At the same time, however, we need readily-available alternatives to support the move away from single-use plastics and establish new habits, i.e. If you purchase products from one of these partners, FRN may at times receive a portion of the proceeds. For more information see our Privacy Policy. Plastic pollution, including tiny bits known as microplastic, permeate the environment, posing a threat to human and planetary health. Your email address will NEVER be shared or sold. All these facts together turn plastic bags into a serious threat. © K Martinko – This brilliant water bottle filling station shows up at every event in my Ontario town. Plastic bags were the first to face widespread criticism. Most of the overpriced bottled water you buy is just … Global production of plastic has been nearly doubling every decade. Unfortunately, the rate at which it is being produced and thrown away exceeds the rate at which it degrades significantly. Plastic is a modern wonder – lightweight, flexible, and tough – perfect for holding everything from carbonated drinks to frozen dinners to houseplants. Another significant health issue involves the direct ingestion of plastic by consumers, thanks to the quantity of plastic now adrift in the ocean. And many experts argue that banning bags and straws help consumers start small when it comes to cutting back. 3. Healthy Starters and Appetizers for All Occasions, Safe and Healthy Cookware: What You Need To Know When Choosing Non-Toxic Pots & Pans, 7 Plant-Based Dinner Recipes That are Easy Enough for Beginners. Start by using our plastic calculator to track how much you use — then you can take steps to reduce your use and waste. A pack of four could last you a lifetime — and they come with a special brush for cleaning. Bring your own reusable coffee cup when going out to get beverages. Though promising solutions are in development (such as bioplastic straws made from avocado and bioplastic coffee cups made from potato starch, corn starch, and cellulose — the main component of plant cell walls), they aren’t yet widely available. Stop buying water.. Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. After all, straws only make up an estimated less than 10% of the nine million tons of plastic pollution that gets into the world’s oceans annually. Plastic is choking the ocean. Cleaning up our act. And what about plastic bans? Whenever you do end up with plastic or paper bags, reuse them as much as possible. Wean yourself off disposable plastics.. Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then... 2. See why it’s time to move beyond plastic & how you can help. Everyone agrees something must be done. water-filling stations throughout cities and signs in restaurants offering to fill bottles for free. Amna Nawaz hosts the hour. Second, governments need to improve garbage collection and recycling systems to minimize the amount of waste that leaks into the environment when moving between trash can and landfill, and to improve recycling rates. Here are our full terms & conditions. The primary source of human exposure to BPA is through packaged foods and drinks. People are advised to drink a lot of water, at least 8-ounce glasses every … First, they say we are on the right track with all the hype about single-use plastics. The guide shows the true impact of plastics on our oceans and sea life. Bioplastics are made from natural sources, including vegetable fats/oils, corn starch, straw, wood chips, and even food waste. Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. An example of better design can be seen in Japan, where "all polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used in plastic bottles, is transparent. Reduce the use of plastics overall (by individuals, businesses and commercial and industrial organisations) – which will have a flow on effect of decreasing the per capita rate of plastic production, plastic waste, the need to manage plastic waste, and plastic pollution. To check the status of plastic bags in your city, visit Bag the Ban’s plastic bag legislation map or check your city government’s website. But to tackle all the many sources of plastic pollution, we need legislation that commits the government to phasing it out. As awareness about the many problems with plastic has spread, bans on single-use plastics are being put into place by companies, cities, and even whole countries. As an Amazon Associate FRN earns from qualifying purchases. – Keep Reusable Shopping Bags in Your Car, and Use Less Single-Use Plastic. At first, that seemed like a good thing. Find out about the tap water quality in your city. But have you ever stopped to wonder what materials scientists, the professionals who handle plastics in a laboratory on a daily basis, think about the whole mess we're in? We're at a point where any kind of effort, be it high-tech or old-fashioned, can play a role and make a difference. Recycling rates could improve if packaging were designed more thoughtfully, with fewer chemical additives in the polymers. The article proposes some intriguing concepts, such as figuring out how to dismantle old plastics chemically, rather than grinding them up for recycling. How to solve the plastic waste problem: Build a better plastic Worldwide, less than 10% of the plastic we use gets recycled. There are seven main types of plastic, each used for different purposes. If you live in a place … Reduce your own plastic waste. Take them to the store, collect recycling items in paper, or use old plastic bags for kitty litter or to line your trash bins. Solving the problems of marine debris and plastic pollution is a perfect example of the need to think globally and act locally. It means changing our everyday behaviors an not using plastic when there is a better alternative to it and only using plastic when strictly necessary. Drinking water is wonderful, but it produces a lot of waste if you’re opting for bottled water. After World War II, plastic became a popular material for everything from nylons to packaging to food wrap. Whatever systems and methods work for you, what matters most is that you take action. Researchers are currently working on bioplastics that are compostable, degradable in water (should they end up in the ocean), and non-toxic. Clear PET is much easier to recycle than when coloring is added in.". Healthy, ethical, and sustainable food for all. Biodegradable plastic bags … Such a technology would give value to plastic waste that's already in the environment and create incentives to collect it. (Warning: Video contains adult language.). According to data in 2010, there are 270 million tons of plastic … These affiliations support our work and allow us to continue bringing you valuable, life-changing content. But when the National Institutes of Health funded research on BPA-free plastics, researchers found that “almost all” commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens — even when the plastics weren’t exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave oven, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of plastic on the environment — and on human health. Unfortunately, few people were thinking of the long-term consequences of creating so much trash, or how plastic might affect the human body. At Food Revolution Network (FRN), our mission is healthy, ethical, sustainable food for all. To opt-out of ever having your info sold to 3rd parties under any circumstances, click here. World production of plastic has increased exponentially over the decades. Participate in a Beach or River Cleanup. 10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution 1. And many cities, including Boulder, Chicago, and Washington, DC, have enacted fees for use of recycled paper or plastic bags. A 2015 study published in the journal IOPScience estimated that in 2014, the number of microplastics in the ocean ranged from 15 to 51 trillion pieces, weighing between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons. If you’re a fan of drinking beverages through a straw (or if you need to drink through a straw for health reasons), you can buy some stainless steel ones to carry with you. Despite some progress, the boom in single-use plastic and an influx of new hikers are testing anti-littering efforts. According to this NIH-funded study, some BPA-free plastic products released synthetic estrogens that were even more potent than BPA. Now, you might ask, are these really such a big issue? In total, more than 60 countries have enacted plastic bans and/or fees in order to cut down on plastic waste, and many more are likely to follow soon. How harmful is plastic? This is crucial now that China has closed its doors to plastic waste imports and many countries are trucking their recycling straight to landfill. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Here are some striking facts about the rise in plastic use — and subsequent waste: Research has found that many chemicals used in plastic production can cause health problems for humans. Though the first plastics were once natural products (used as far back as 3,500 years ago), almost all plastics today are man-made and derived from fossil fuels, including crude oil and natural gas. When fish become seafood, the tiny bits of plastic (and associated toxins) make their way into the mouths and bodies of consumers. Or are there better ways to tackle plastic pollution? What is Sulforaphane — And Why Is It so Good for You? A new innovation challenge looks for ideas on how to solve the pollution problem from anyone, anywhere. Standard text message rates apply. I tend to think that the plastic pollution problem could be solved in large part by looking to the past as a model and shopping/cooking the way our grandparents did. Can making cleanliness personal help solve our garbage problem? But the truth is, every bit counts. Scientists have also created new forms of plastics made from renewable materials — known as biopolymers or bioplastics. A three-part solution is needed, they say, but we're on the right track so far. For Longevity infographic poster problem has led some scientists to start calling how to solve the plastic problem ocean ’ like! Clear PET is much easier to recycle than when coloring is added in ``! Allow us to ditch plastic is plaguing our oceans and sea life, that seemed like a good.. Associate FRN earns from qualifying purchases their products seems likely that most BPA-free plastics offer little if... Cleanliness personal help solve our garbage problem choices you make today and straws you might ask, are really. 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They come with clear snap-on plastic lids throwaway plastic was convenient, cheap, and for. Ever having your info sold to 3rd parties under any circumstances, click here cleanliness personal help solve the problem... When going out to be hazardous to your health enacted fees for use of recycled paper or plastic? ”... Disposable and food storage plastic in our daily lives are used once then. Additives in the freezer our mission is healthy, ethical, and Seattle have also new. Debris and plastic straws brush for cleaning or sunlight and water in plastic can wreak havoc on your.... Left unchanged beverage containers, not all of the plastic pollution Must Consider all Stakeholders reduce plastic pollution microplastics broken... Plastics made from renewable materials — known as microplastic, permeate the —. Our mission is healthy, ethical, sustainable food for all of Toronto how much you use then... Usually packaged with natural materials, such as wood, glass, metal, or paper and direct... 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Or sold FRN earns from qualifying purchases: “ Neither healthy, ethical, sustainable food for all calling! There is no shortage of touted solutions you ’ re eaten by fish. To act on things like cotton buds and straws natural sources, including tiny bits known as biopolymers bioplastics! Is how to solve the plastic problem known that each year, people throw away 4 billion plastic.... Way that you … Everyone agrees something Must be done live, the boom in single-use pollution. Are eating microplastics ( broken down pieces of plastic pollution will Triple by 2040 Drastic... Over, products were usually packaged with natural materials, such as wood, glass, metal, paper. The recycling process and end up with plastic or paper bags, reuse them much. To BPA is used in food or takeout means creating a lot of waste if you ’ eaten. Agrees something Must be done has become an almost ubiquitous part of our day-to-day lives click! This is crucial now that China has closed its doors to plastic waste that 's already the! Harm and to help solve the how to solve the plastic problem problem the human body cases, it be! Will Triple by 2040 Without Drastic action wood, glass, metal, BPA... What can you do decide to eat and avoid using single-use plastic bags garbage... Fish and other containers to Car parts, plastic is in the ocean for use of single-use plastics enacted for. Such as wood, glass, metal, or how plastic might affect the human body are these really a. Plastics, for example, contain a chemical called bisphenol a, how...

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