Plastic is all around us. Just look around anywhere that you are sitting right now. There're probably plastic pens, folders, notebooks, and much more in your office. You are also probably surrounded by other plastic items too. Many parts of our car are made of plastic. Kitchen equipment and utensils are also made of plastic. We are surrounded by plastic everywhere.
There are many benefits to using plastic. Plastic is lighter than wood or metal, it is also cheaper to buy and produce. Plastic is also flexible, moisture-temperature-chemical resistant, durable and relatively inexpensive. There are also important roles that durable plastics play in certain settings such as hospitals and for computers, phones, safety and industrial equipment.
But is all this plastic good for us? Many scientists are discovering that plastic is harming our health and certainly our environment. For instance, the chemicals leaching out of plastics have the potential to cause problems for living beings. Those most at risk of adverse health effects from exposure to such chemicals include children, especially babies and infants and mothers who have oodles of hormones coursing through their fertile, life-giving bodies.
Further, our environment is also having challenges because of all the plastic that is dumped in the water. Yes, we have become much more eco-conscious. We are recycling, composting, eating organic and consuming lots of granola and hugging these. But that doesn't have much benefit because of the ubiquity of plastic all around us. Water bottles are an important culprit of issues and difficulties for us. They are intended for single use because when they are reused, harmful chemicals leach into the water and we consume it along with the water.
So, is there anything that we can do? Here are a few things that we can try.
• Avoid plastic and use alternatives as much as possible. Plastic is too microscopically dispersed around the world to try and clean it all up at this point. But we can take small steps to decrease our use of plastic.
• Change your perception of existing plastic as waste to be disposed of and see it as a valuable resource to be carefully recycled and reused in safe non-food, non-polluting applications.
• Move toward a circular economy system where plastics never become waste; rather, they all re-enter the economy through recycling and reuse. Plastic products should be designed from the start to never become waste.
• Embrace any community-based initiatives to reduce plastic. While global solutions are necessary, we can do a lot as individuals in communities as well. We can all benefit from taking small steps, over and over to reduce plastic.
By taking these small steps, you will be reducing the plastics in your immediate environment. Every small step makes a huge difference. So, make sure that you think small and consistent. That is the most important thing that you can do to take part in reducing plastic in your immediate environment.