May 28 2009

Less Plastic a Day Keeps the Global Doom Away

by at 7:25 am under Uncategorized

The issue that I would like to promote is having the people that I interact with use less non-reusable plastic, because it is an important environmental step that people can choose to take in their daily lives.  The key actors in determining the outcome are the people I know and me.  The structure of our relationships differs depending on if they are a friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance, and I would fine tune what I said depending on the relationship I had with the particular person.  In general, I would tell them a few negative facts about plastic and its effects on the environment, how much we use one-use plastic in our daily lives that they might not even realize, and some steps they can take to minimize that use.
First, I would talk about why it is good to use less plastic.  One issue is that plastic does not disappear, like paper might, and will be taking up space on our Earth for the foreseeable future.  Another is that plastic is bad for the environment.   For example, there is a mass of swirling plastic in the Pacific Ocean that about the size of Texas.  A third reason to use less plastic is that it is bad for animals, especially wild animals.  For example, sea birds can die from eating too much plastic, which they think is food, animals can get caught in plastic waste and drown, and birds and animals can get their heads stuck in six-pack soda can plastic holders.  Plastic also may have negative effects on our own health, such as plastic containers leaching chemicals into food or drink.
Second, I would talk about how much all of us use one-time-use plastic in our daily lives, often without realizing it.  For example, tape is plastic, as are band-aids.  There are, of course, plastic shopping backs, plastic wrappers on food, utensils, and many other purchases, and straws.  Even drinking milk or juice or eating yogurt is using non-reusable plastic containers.
Third, I would list some steps that people can take to use less plastic.  People can do something as simple as asking to waiter at a restaurant not to put a straw in their drink, when ordering.  There are also many reusable grocery and other kinds of shopping bags for sale at stores from Trader Joe’s to Kohl’s, and using those instead of plastic shopping bags is a great step.  Packing a lunch so that one does not have to purchase a lunch in a plastic container and using a reusable lunch container, along with Tupperware instead of plastic baggies, can also help.  One friend of mine even goes so far as to request no tape on her paper-wrapped Au Bon Pain lunch sandwiches.
In conclusion, I would use information sharing to try to influence those with whom I interact to use less plastic in their daily lives.  The things I would say would depend on the structure of our relationship, but I would generally talk about the negative effects of plastic, how much we use it in our daily lives, and easy ways to use less plastic.  Hopefully this would influence those people to think more about their use of plastic and its effects, and to make changes to their daily lives.

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