National Geographic has launched a campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastics and the resulting onslaught on our environment (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/plasticpledge/) We have been blithely choking our planet to death, all in the name of convenience. A lot of junk ends up in our oceans and on our shores. Nearly one million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute and 100 trillion plastic bags are used every year. To get the full perspective about this, check out this article: (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/the-journey-of-plastic-around-the-globe/). Plastic bags generally take 1000 years to break down. Think about it. That plastic bag you are using will be around long after we are gone and our children and our children’s children are gone. Bring your own reusable bag when you shop. Not only will you be doing the environment a big favor, but you will eliminate the clutter of plastic bags in the home. Someone once said that plastic bags will be the next tumbleweeds. I’m no scientist, but I believe it. I see plastic blow around the atmosphere, and it stays and stays. According to National Geographic, 9 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean every year. That’s a lot of garbage. And, worst of all, it floats around for a long, long time. Take the pledge, choose the planet. We only have one chance at this. Help National Geographic prevent 1 billion plastic items from reaching the ocean by 2020. We have reduced plastics by 205,028,887 pieces to date. Remember the world before the abundance of plastic? We had glass soda bottles, paper bags and paper straws. With glass bottles we had to be careful of breakage, but cashing in our bottles made for a sweet treat to get cash for penny candy or more soda. Paper grocery bags made terrific book covers that we could doodle on to our heart’s content. And paper straws were heaven. Sure, they would get a little water-logged, but they looked cool and you could scrunch them up when you were finished with them. Now what do we have? 500 million plastic straws that are used every single day. One study published earlier this year estimated that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches. 8 million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise just 0.025% of that. I’ve seen too many pictures of animals who have died from ingesting or choking on our plastic refuse. Oh, and getting back to plastic straws, if you are in a restaurant and the waiter or waitress automatically puts straws on your table, immediately hand them back. Simply leaving them on the table will result in them being thrown out, used or unused, with the same end result, ocean garbage. My husband forwarded an article to me from National Public Radio. It is called “Where Will Your Plastic Trash Go Now That China Doesn’t Want It” https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/03/13/702501726/where-will-your-plastic-trash-go-now-that-china-doesnt-want-it. Pretty much anything and everything came in plastic containers that the U.S. and other countries sent to China for recycling. They took in about 7 million tons a year. However, as the saying goes, “All good things must end it’s true.” China no longer wants our plastic garbage. Some of that plastic goes to other countries, but most of it has no where to go. A lot of the trash that we tried to send to China for recycling was contaminated with material which made it impossible to recycle, such as food, paper, and plastic wrap. And some of the plastic, by its very nature was tough to recycle. Squeeze bottles come to mind here. They are made up of different layers of plastic, which are tough to isolate for recycling purposes. We are now left with massive amounts of plastic which is being stockpiled or incinerated. More Americans need to get on the recycling bandwagon. Look to see if your plastic containers are recyclable. In our area we can only recycle plastic #1’s, #2’s, and #5’s. So that leaves it up to the consumer. If our products don’t come in easily recyclable plastic, it is up to us to contact the contact the company and ask for a different type container. We are trying to cut down on our usage of plastic wrap and disposable containers. We have slowed down the pace of our lives and when we can, make do with less. We have stainless steel straws, including collapsible ones. We have the 4Ocean bracelet, each bracelet purchased funds the removal of one pound of plastic from the ocean. That one pound may not sound like much, but if you think about the sheer volume of it, it makes a difference. And that’s what this blog is all about; each person doing their part to make their difference.Another company, Ocean&Co, is also selling merchandise to partner with various companies to try and give our beaches and oceans a second chance. So, there you have it. Things are a mess. But it’s not too late to correct this problem. Start with one thing that you can accomplish, then go to the next, and the next. Me? I’m going to plant luffa sponges this year. They will make the perfect natural, biodegradable sponges and Jim-dandy little gifts. Seriously. What a conversation piece!
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“Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” -Evo Morales