Why reducing plastic waste is the “new” eco-friendly trend you should get on board with. – Madison Bethune
Plastic is like the air we breathe. We have become so dependent on it for even the smallest parts of our everyday lives: From the toothbrush and toothpaste bottle we use when we wake up, to our phones and their chargers, to the sandwich bag we pack our lunches in, and everything in between. Plastic has been blended into our routines to the point where we don’t even notice it anymore. And how stealthily plastic has snuck into our daily tasks is equal to how easily we throw it away without even realizing.
For years, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) has stressed the importance of reducing our levels of plastic waste due to its serious impact on our environment. But only recently have towns, grocery stores and other businesses started taking action through means of banning plastic bags, switching to paper straws, etc. So why plastic? Why is it really so bad and why should you do your part to reduce our plastic waste? Here’s the answer made simple:
Plastic makes up 10% of human waste production. 10% may not seem like much, but plastic contributes at a much greater amount to the waste buildup along shorelines, in natural habitats, and in our towns due to its longevity. Depending on the product, plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose. A plastic water bottle takes 450 years, and a plastic bag can take anywhere from 10-1000 years. This buildup is killing animal species around the world due to the amount that ends up in the ocean, forests, and places we as people may not see it. Out of site, out of mind right? Wrong. Although we as people may not confuse plastic for food like ocean animals do, plastic is getting into our bodies through different means.
Microplastics are about .2 inches in diameter and can be man-made for products like exfoliators, or made through the decaying of larger plastic products. What we see as an exfoliating face wash that we wash down the drain every morning, a fish sees as food. The chemicals that are used to produce plastic are now in the fish we eat, and are in turn absorbed into our bodies when we eat that fish. Another way plastic is harmful to us is because it’s getting into our water supply. Because plastic takes so long to decompose, it sits at the bottom of landfills and is absorbed into our groundwater, which again we take in through consumption.
So essentially, plastic is bad because it theoretically never goes away. It sits on our Earth and releases chemicals into places where we get our food and water. Not to mention that recent reports have found that plastic waste contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases which are causing global warming and climate change. So basically, plastic is a no-go. Even though you may think you won’t be able to make a difference, reducing the amount of plastic you alone contribute to the Earth will have a serious impact. If one person takes action, and another person, and another, we can significantly decrease the amount of plastic waste we produce, making our home the Earth, a much happier and healthier place to live for all.
One way you can reduce your plastic use is to shop eco friendly brands! Earth Shoes takes pride in the sustainable steps they take to their plastic waste. First, all of Earth’s shoeboxes are made from recycled materials, and are recyclable. The boxes are also made with no glue, staples, or varnishes and are made with soy-based inks. A newer sustainable step Earth has taken is starting with the Fall 2019 line, all molds and shoe bags found inside the shoes are made from biodegradable corn compounds. So starting from the shoes you walk in, start taking steps (literally and figuratively) to reduce your plastic waste, and spread the word!