Replace Plastics?

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by Nora Johnson

“Bioplastics are only part of the solution to the plastic problem—a change in consumer behaviour is also needed.”

Replace plastic??? What?  What am I going to put my garbage in? Can’t I buy a bottle of water on a trip?  What about my computer mouse?  My shampoo bottle?  What about important medical uses of plastics? These are many of the questions that emerge when we begin to explore the consequences of the many plastic products we use everyday. In this blog post we explore some of our plastic challenges using some handy online resources, starting with this primer: https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/future-plastics

We know why we have to cut back on plastics: they’re swamping landfills, clogging up rivers, killing corals and  replacing fish in the ocean.

“We didn’t start out looking for plastic and disease, Lamb says. “But we kept coming across it, so it became necessary to report.”

Plastics biodegrade into tiny undigested particles that get into everything, including human bodies.  They make us sick and fat.

“The research suggests that the widely used chemical— organotin dibutyltin (DBT)—could be spurring obesity and diabetes and scientists say we should monitor people’s exposure since we know so little about the compound.”

We seem to be surrounded by plastic!  And no wonder: a lot of it is produced every year:
“Some 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012.”
Alas!  Only a small percentage is recycled:
“In 2014, Americans discarded about 33.6 million tons of plastic, but only 9.5 percent of it was recycled and 15 percent was combusted to create electricity or heat.”
What we do about all this is a question that will need
crowd sourcing
to answer.
It is too big for any one of us, and many are
discouraged
by the enormity of the problem.
On the other hand, many have found ways to reduce our own use of plastic.
If we share what we do,
the universe of possibilities will expand.
We invite you to comment below to add your ideas for how to tackle the plastic problem.
Photo credit: Nora Johnson

 

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