Plastic planet – Things to know before you buy plastic

It’s everywhere. No matter if we just want to buy a coke, some food, a children’s toy, everything is wrapped in plastic.

Of course, I do see the advantages. It’s light, and you can easily throw it away after usage. But wait, should throwing it away after usage really be our goal? Well, I’m not so sure…

PS: I also added some Youtube videos and would really recommend watching them, they are short and explain everything very well.

Plastic never biodegrades

Plastic takes 500 years to decompose poster
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

One thing I’ve heard a lot about plastic is that it actually never decomposes. It really took me quite a while and some documentaries to realize what this really means.

Because, even if the bits get smaller or it gets buried under the ground, every bit of plastic that was ever created still does exist in this world until today.

I mean, imagine it, plastic has been around since 1907 and it still is being produced over a hundred years later. So consequently a lot of plastic is going around in this world already and it only becomes more.

This means that today we have more plastic than yesterday, tomorrow we’ll have more than today and the day after tomorrow even more. We’ll never be able to get back to the amount we had a few days before.

Of course, scientists are working on a solution to that problem. Recently, they found some bacteria that are able to decompose plastic. Still, there are huge amounts of plastic waste all over the world, so avoiding it as much as possible until a proper solution is found should definitely be one of your 2019 goals.

Recently, they found some bacteria that are able to decompose plastic. Still, there are huge amounts of plastic waste all over the world, so avoiding it as much as possible until a proper solution is found should definitely be one of your 2019 goals.

Plastic harms marine life

A sea turtle
Photo by Randall Ruiz on Unsplash

Ok, so you might already know about this one, too, but just to make it clear. A lot of plastic we don’t recycle, or that isn’t recyclable actually ends up in the ocean. The plastic then circulates and creates so-called plastic islands. These islands are enormous floating patches of plastic. Currently, there are 5 existing plastic islands in the ocean, one of them is the “great pacific garbage patch”, which currently has a capacity of around three times the size of France. Solely filled with trash.

Furthermore, a lot of the plastic is breaking down into small pieces which are ingested by marine life. Turtles, for example, who feed on this plastic feel full and will hence starve to death. A lot of seagulls are also found dead, due to the amounts of plastic collected in their stomach. Also, only a bit of the ocean has been discovered so far, so one can only image, how much plastic is already laying on its ground.

It releases toxins

A beach full of plastic litter
Photo by Dustan Woodhouse on Unsplash

One alternative to dumping the waste into the ocean is actually ( as mentioned before) burying it underground. Of course, to some, this may seem like a reasonable way to get rid of plastic (putting it back to where it came from), but it doesn’t quite work like that.

Most of the other materials used by mankind do actually biodegrade when buried underground. The reason plastic doesn’t is that the bacteria don’t know this material and is not able to biodegrade it. Therefore, it just stays there and releases toxins which harm the environment around it. As you may realize, I’m really bad at explaining, so here’s another video for you.

So that’s just some information about plastic I really wanted to share with you. It can all be shocking and overwhelming at the beginning, but I do believe it’s important to know such things before buying the next to-go meal.

Of course, nobody is perfect and can avoid plastic from one day to another. If you try, you may realize that the amounts of plastic we actually waste on a daily basis are enormous. So don’t feel bad, or overwhelmed. I do believe that, if we all reduce our waste as good as we can, the world will already thank us.

“Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do, but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something.”

— Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer
Choke, a campaign by Greenpeace against plastic
Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

Thank you.

Please leave a comment if you have some additional things to say and make sure to tell me when I am wrong at any point. I would really encourage everybody to decrease their plastic waste and if you need a quick kick start here’s a list of plastic free alternatives.

Last but not least, I have a little documentary recommendation for you. “A plastic Ocean” can be found on Netflix and I strongly recommend watching it.

Carrie
Advertisements

One thought on “Plastic planet – Things to know before you buy plastic

Leave a comment!