Plastic. We love it and use it to make our lives incredibly simple and convenient. On the other hand, we hate it, spending way too much time staring at the tiny triangle symbol on the bottom trying to figure out if it can, indeed, be tossed in the green bin next to the “landfill” trash. Let’s just face it, plastic is great but most people simply don’t have the time or the patience to dispose of it responsibly. Don’t believe us? Consider this: On whole, 300 million tons of plastic come into production every year. Of that, only around 12-15 percent gets properly recycled, the rest gets sent to landfills.
Now, you’re probably running through all the times you gave yourself a mental gold star for recycling some piece of plastic you used recently – but the reality is there is far more plastic coming into production than there is plastic getting reused or recycled. It takes around 1,000 years for a piece of plastic to break down and when it does, it doesn’t biodegrade like organic material. Rather, plastic photodegrades, a reaction caused by UV rays, and pulls apart into smaller and smaller bits as it goes. Some scientists estimate there are around five trillion plastic particles, weighing around 270,000 tons, floating in our oceans. With 8.8 million new tons of plastic being dumped into our seas – primarily from land-based sources – this is creating a HUGE problem.
Sadly, plastic may be “out of sight, out of mind for us,” but for the world’s marine animals it’s right in front of their faces. In fact, over 800 marine species are in danger of extinction due to the threat that plastic poses to them in the form ingestion, entanglement, and pollution.
Now, being the eco-conscious, animal-loving person you are, you’re probably thinking that you’ve gotta get better at recycling your plastic – well, we’ve got a much easier solution for you. Stop using plastic for your everyday items and swap them for a reusable alternative. It might be an investment in the beginning, but you’re sure to save tons in the long-run by grabbing a reusable straw, bottle, bag, coffee cup, and lunch box before heading out the door.
And to make things just that much easier for you – we’ve got some essential suggestions for all these awesome planet-and-turtle-saving items, click on the images below to learn more!
To learn more about how you can reduce plastic in your life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.