How You Can Help Solve the Global Plastic Problem
Our world is faced with an unprecedented challenge. Our landfills, rivers, and oceans are becoming a home for plastic. Plastic production has increased exponentially since the 1960’s when it became popular, and now it is a problem.
How bad is this plastic problem? Most sources, including plasticoceans.org, and plastic-pollution.org agree that our world produces about 300 million tons of plastic every year. A large percentage of that plastic is single-use plastic items, like silverware or milk jugs. If consumers and industries disregard this crisis, it will continue to worsen. At the rate that plastic is being produced, our landfills and oceans will be overrun with 300 million tons of plastic each year.
Due to plastic being a relatively new development, it is not clear how long it takes to degrade plastic. However, estimates predict that it will take at least 450 years for most plastic to completely degrade. What can we do to stop this crisis?
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says,
“The three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle – all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy. Plus, the three R’s save land and money communities must use to dispose of waste in landfills. Siting a new landfill has become difficult and more expensive due to environmental regulations and public opposition.”
The solution to the plastic problem may seem difficult at first but start with something that is manageable to you. Start by assessing what types of things that you throw away, then ask yourself if any of those things could be reused or recycled.
The plastic industries and consumers have a codependent relationship, which means that the actions of the consumers, affect the plastic industries, and vice versa. If we as consumers are not reducing the amount of plastic that we use, or using recycled plastics, we are enabling the plastic industries to continue creating more plastic.
If we insist on buying glass, paper, or metal items, instead of plastic items, the plastic industry will notice.
The logic behind reducing the amount of waste that is generated is simple. The less plastic that you buy or use, the less plastic you will need to recycle or reuse.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Local thrift stores, schools, and churches are great places to donate the items that you do not need or use anymore. These places often have programs in place that reuse clothes, appliances, books, furniture, and many other things that you no longer need. However, only send usable items. Do not donate something that is unusable, just so that you can say that you didn’t throw it away.
In addition to this, buy products that are reusable. For example, reusable shopping bags and glass or aluminum water bottles with stainless-steel straws (like the tumblers pictured above from greensteel.com) are all durable items that can be reused for many years. By reusing products like these, consumers can do their part in solving plastic pollution.
And finally, everyone can recycle. Recycling can seem like a futile effort to stop the giant of plastic pollution. However, recycling can make a big difference in our environment. Consumers can take part by carefully recycling plastic containers whenever possible. Another way to participate in recycling is to buy products made from recycled plastic. Carpet, backpacks, playground sets, buckets, and frisbees are only a few products that can be produced from recycled plastics.
At Nisly Brothers, we take pride in participating in recycling. We are happy to offer many of our customers our single stream recycling program where glass, junk mail, magazines, and plastic products can go into 1 cart (see picture for the full list). As part of our recycling program we offer a Rewards for Recycling Program for all our customers. Go to nislyrewards4recycling.com to set up your account today and start earning coupons immediately! We understand the importance of environmental consciousness, and we do our best to leave a positive example.