Planet-Changing Habits and Plastic
You head to the local grocery store in your fleece jacket to buy a package of plastic-wrapped hamburgers which you put into another plastic bag so it doesn’t touch your plastic-wrapped hamburger buns and the large plastic bag of little individually plastic-wrapped pieces of candy. You then bag all the items in double-lined plastic grocery bags. 10 minutes later you get to your friend’s party, unwrap everything, grill it, eat it, and throw away all the plastic.
(But wait…you ‘recycled‘ the bags.)
The operative word here is ‘plastic’ and trust me, it doesn’t just ‘go away’.
Our planet’s synthetic plastic garbage, recycled or not, has been around since 1907. There are literally massive islands formed from discarded plastics in our oceans!
Plastic debris in the oceans was first observed in the 1960s, a decade in which Americans became increasingly aware of environmental problems (The History and Future of Plastics).
Unfortunately, most plastic is used for only seconds, minutes, hours, days, or even weeks and then just chucked away. This situation is getting worse and these items are not going anywhere for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. Moreover, why does it matter that you were wearing a fleece polyester jacket in this scenario? I’ll get back to you on that one.
What happens to our planet’s plastic pollution?
All of that single-use plastic breaks down into smaller particles which attract toxic chemicals, finds its way into our waterways and oceans, gets ingested by terrestrial and marine wildlife, contaminates our food chains, and eventually you…and me. Sucks, right?! Really think about this, we have been physically consuming someone else’s synthetic, toxic garbage.
Let’s not forget that
most of this material is made from industrial compounds derived from fossil fuels which happen to be endocrine disruptors. In layman’s terms…plastic can jack-up your health and the environment at the same time. (BPA-Free…Best Possible Alternative?).
Lightweight plastic may be cheap and convenient, however, how ‘cheap‘ can it really be? I’m referring to the costs to our planet’s biosphere and the consequences to our health – especially in the wake of our current healthcare uncertainty.
Why are you wearing a ‘fleece’ jacket in my story?
Traditional fleece is made from polyester which is woven into a fabric, then brushed to create little soft fibers. As a result, these synthetic plastic “microfibers have the potential to poison… to bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins in the bodies of larger animals, higher up the food chain. Breaking a plastic bottle into millions of fibrous bits of plastic might actually prove to be worse than doing nothing at all.” Check back for my post on ‘fast fashion’!