Happy Earth Day everyone!
This year Earth Day falls on Sunday, April 22nd! It’s a wonderful opportunity to remember how beautiful our planet is and what we can do to keep it that way. We know our clients are conscientious world citizens who care about the environment, but many of us struggle when it comes to what we can do as individuals to make a difference.
Today we will share with you some reasons why you should care about ending plastic pollution; the main focus of Earth Day 2018, as well as some things YOU can do in your home and community to participate in this effort.
Earth Day 2018 Goals
The Earth Day Network announced that this year’s Earth Day will focus on mobilizing people globally to End Plastic Pollution. Their specific goals include things like ending single-use plastics, promoting 100 percent recycling, corporate and government accountability programs, and encouraging “people worldwide (THAT'S YOU!) to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics.”
Some Facts About Plastic Pollution
According to an article by the BBC:
- 9.1 billion US tons of virgin (non-recycled) plastic has been produced to date.
Generating 6.9 billion US tons of plastic waste.
ONLY 9% of that waste has been recycled!
12% has been incinerated.
The remaining 79% (5.5 billion US tons) of plastic waste has accumulated in landfills and the natural environment.
By 2050, 13.2 billion US tons will enter landfills or the environment if current production and waste management trends continue.
How Plastic Pollution Affects You: Why You Should Care
1. Your Health and Wellbeing
Plastics can make our lives easier, but after decades of using these products the negative side-effects are evident. Chemicals leached from plastics in our food and beverage containers are now recognized as a public health hazard and known to cause harm to the human body, such as:
Reproductive system abnormalities
Impaired brain and neurological functions
Cardiovascular system damage
Resistance to chemotherapy.
2. Climate Change
Plastic pollution isn’t just about the amount of litter we accumulate, but also the fact that plastic production is based on oil. The processing of oil into plastic releases emissions into the environment, such as carbon monoxide and methane (a greenhouse gas that causes a greater warming effect than carbon dioxide).
This connection between plastic pollution and climate change is huge! Because climate change affects our weather cycles, our food production, our sea levels, and on and on.
What YOU Can Do To End Plastic Pollution
Now let’s get down to Earth! Here are some practical things you can do in your home and community to participate in the cause. Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Remove. While recycling is great, it’s not enough. It’s important to start with reducing the amount of plastics we purchase in the first place. Ask yourself these two questions before you buy plastic products:
Do I need it? Can I use something else?
Here Are 5 Simple Ideas To Do Your Part In The Earth Day Movement
Tell your waiter you don’t need a straw! And if you still want to use a straw to drink, purchase a glass or metal one and bring it with you.
Refuse plastic bags at the register AND for fresh produce. Most of us are using our own bags to carry home the groceries, but we can take the next step by using cloth or reusable mesh bags to pack our fresh produce and bulk items as well.
Get a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones and throwing them out.
Consider purchasing clothing made of natural fibers and avoid buying clothes made of nylon and polyester which contains microplastics.
Know your recycle rules. They differ in every community. Visit www.iwanttoberecycled.org and enter your zip code to quickly find out what items you can recycle in your area.
*** If you want to find out how much plastic you’re currently using, check out the Plastic Pollution Footprint Calculator here: https://www.earthday.org/plastic-calculator/
***If you’d like to read more about Earth Day 2018, click here. https://www.earthday.org/yourjourney2018/
***References: Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit END PLASTIC POLLUTION EARTH DAY 2018, Earth Day Network.