That’s right. Each of us who choose to buy plastic and use plastic bags are the cause of the plastic waste crisis. Single use plastics takes centuries to biodegrade, with the worst, polystyrene, taking 500 years to break down. What’s worse: polystyrene foam never fully degrades. On average, people throw away millions of single-use plastic items and foam cups and containers each day – enough plastic to fill up one and a half football stadiums, of which only 8 percent is recycled. The rest accumulates in our environment, burdening landfills, and is dumped into the ocean. This significantly impacts our land and our oceans, killing wildlife. In fact, enough plastic enters the oceans every year to fill five grocery bags stacked on every foot of coastline around the world.
So what can you do? Take Action! Be a part of the plastic waste crisis solution by analyzing what you are purchasing. Do you really need that single-use plastic item? Simply don’t purchase plastic items. What is an alternative to that single-use plastic item? Use your dollar as your voice. A simple choice is to bring your own reusable bag to the store rather than using plastic bags. And yes, you can do this even during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also contact your favorite retailers and urge them to get rid of supplying plastic bags, or ask them collect and send single-use plastic bags to recycling programs that can actually process the material. Another simple choice is to avoid patronizing restaurants that serve beverages in polystyrene cups or offer polystyrene to-go containers. If you want to get serious, in addition to using your dollars, use your voice. Call on your elected officials to propose legislation to ban the worst single-use plastics and polystyrene foam cups and containers. Contact a restaurant manager and tell them to stop using polystyrene. The result is that bans do reduce plastic pollution.
Sustainability is one of Miron’s six core drivers. We are committed to enhancing the health and wellbeing of people and our environment. To curb the plastic waste crisis, we will be hosting a plastic bag drive the month of September in all of our offices and at the yard. Additionally, we will be holding neighborhood clean-up events in our communities.
Want to learn more? Here is a list of plastic pollution documentaries you can watch. You can also visit Environment America Research & Policy Center to read the recently released comprehensive fact sheet to get all the details on the best practices and policies for reducing plastic pollution.