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how to solve the plastic problem

The article proposes some intriguing concepts, such as figuring out how to dismantle old plastics chemically, rather than grinding them up for recycling. Despite some progress, the boom in single-use plastic and an influx of new hikers are testing anti-littering efforts. Finally, scientists need to "devise ways to break plastic down into its most basic units, which can be rebuilt into new plastics or other materials." Global production of plastic has been nearly doubling every decade. The primary source of human exposure to BPA is through packaged foods and drinks. Unfortunately, few people were thinking of the long-term consequences of creating so much trash, or how plastic might affect the human body. Ocean Plastic Pollution Will Triple by 2040 Without Drastic Action. People are advised to drink a lot of water, at least 8-ounce glasses every … Here are some ideas for helping solve the plastic problem by cutting back on single-use plastic: If you live in a place where grocery stores still give out plastic bags, it’s easy to fall back into using them — or to opt for paper, which has its own environmental problems. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use Plastics. Infographic: 19 Foods You Can Regrow from Scraps, How to Wash Vegetables and Fruits to Remove Pesticides, Vinegar Facts: What is It — And How to Use it for Your Health. Eating fast food or takeout means creating a lot of waste. Second, governments need to improve garbage collection and recycling systems to minimize the amount of waste that leaks into the environment when moving between trash can and landfill, and to improve recycling rates. As awareness about the many problems with plastic has spread, bans on single-use plastics are being put into place by companies, cities, and even whole countries. These plastics – which include straws, water bottles, shopping bags, utensils, plastic-lined coffee cups, and food packaging – are used only once before being discarded. They’re labeled with numbered codes, helping you determine which kind of plastic you’re dealing with and if you can recycle it. But the truth is, every bit counts. After all, straws only make up an estimated less than 10% of the nine million tons of plastic pollution that gets into the world’s oceans annually. … The next time you’re asked, “Paper or plastic?,” you can say: “Neither! At first, that seemed like a good thing. 3. , have enacted fees for use of recycled paper or plastic bags. Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, some cities have temporarily suspended their plastic bag bans or fees. A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum. What is Sulforaphane — And Why Is It so Good for You? Throwaway plastic was convenient, cheap, and human-made, and there was a seemingly endless supply. If you live in a place … Start by using our plastic calculator to track how much you use — then you can take steps to reduce your use and waste. About eight million tonnes of it ends up in the ocean every year, and t he Great Pacific Garbage Patch covers an estimated area the size of Queensland. Invest in a refillable water bottle. It seems like plastic is almost everywhere. A three-part solution is needed, they say, but we're on the right track so far. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. "The Plastic Problem" examines how our global dependency on plastic has created one of the biggest environmental threats to our planet. So by focusing on eliminating these items, we can start to chip away at the larger issue of single-use plastics. This may include buying shampoo bars or shampoos from bulk stores to avoid buying shampoos in bottles, or shopping at a farmer’s market for produce instead of your local supermarket to avoid buying produce that’s wrapped in plastic and styrofoam. Information and resources shared by FRN are for informational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any type of disease or condition. From building materials to food storage, and from packaging to clothing, plastic has become an almost ubiquitous part of modern life. From bags to food containers to car parts, plastic is a significant part of our day-to-day lives. It is also known that each year, people throw away 4 billion plastic bags. Do they work? Wean yourself off disposable plastics.. Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then... 2. But environmental experts say that the problem isn’t in recycling, it’s in the use of plastic in the first place. The government has made some encouraging pledges to act on things like cotton buds and straws. Can making cleanliness personal help solve our garbage problem? Andrew Dove, a chemist at the University of Birmingham, said, "If we can create something high-value from cheap plastic waste, there might be an economic argument to go and dredge this out of the ocean. Carry a reusable bottle... 3. This produces a vapor that runs through a condenser, where it’s made into oil. Why plastic is a problem? Plus, it presents ideas for reducing plastic waste when you’re out and about, or at home, and ways you can help solve the plastic problem, right now. Plastic straws are on the way out. But to tackle all the many sources of plastic pollution, we need legislation that commits the government to phasing it out. But when the National Institutes of Health funded research on BPA-free plastics, researchers found that “almost all” commercially available plastics that were tested leached synthetic estrogens — even when the plastics weren’t exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave oven, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun’s ultraviolet rays. As news started coming out about the dangers of BPA, many manufacturers began phasing this nasty chemical out of their products. Our family used to love plastic food-storage containers, but recently we bit the bullet and threw out all but a few backup plastic containers. The resource depletion/plastic pollution problem may be partly mitigated via the reuse economy, which involves some degree of reusing or repurposing of items, although non-recyclable waste is still generated, while the circular economy aims to avoid the production of waste altogether, with maximum recycling as an essential component, being modelled on the way natural systems operate, … Biodegradable plastic bags … Now, we store most of our food in glass containers that come with clear snap-on plastic lids. Drinking water is wonderful, but it produces a lot of waste if you’re opting for bottled water. This is crucial now that China has closed its doors to plastic waste imports and many countries are trucking their recycling straight to landfill. To solve this problem, I believe that the best solution is to use biodegradable plastic bags. Two products have been the focus of most of these bans: plastic bags and plastic straws. By entering your information here, you are agreeing to receive messages from Food Revolution Network. When you do decide to eat out, bring along a reusable container for leftovers. Waste Plastic is plaguing our oceans and marine life. Standard text message rates apply. Here’s a better option: Buy your own glass or stainless steel water bottle and bring it with you everywhere you go. This Accidental Discovery Could Help Solve Our Plastic Pollution Crisis, Plastic Bank: How to Solve the Plastic Pollution Problem and Poverty at the Same Time, Solutions for Single-Use Plastic Pollution Must Consider All Stakeholders, Scientists Accidentally Create Plastic-Eating Mutant Enzyme, Plastic Eating Microbes to the Rescue: Evolution May Be Finding a Solution to the Problem of Plastic Waste, How the Plastics Industry Is Hijacking the Circular Economy, 6 Most Common Sources of Plastic Pollution, Here's an Incredibly Simple Solution to Plastic Packaging Waste, California (And the Whole World) Needs to Get Over Recycling, Caterpillars That Eat Plastic Bags Discovered, Could Lead to Pollution Solution, Beverage Industry Needs to Tackle Plastic Problem Immediately, Common Caterpillar Found to Eat Plastic Shopping Bags, Thicker Bags Don't Solve the Plastics Problem, Holly Richards / USFWS Pacific Region – Marine debris found on Midway Atoll. Can banning plastic bags and straws really help solve the waste problem? According to data in 2010, there are 270 million tons of plastic … Find out about the tap water quality in your city. In this video we will at some of the solutions that we can adopt for saving our planet. First, they say we are on the right track with all the hype about single-use plastics. Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, some cities have, their plastic bag bans or fees. Nevertheless, it is intriguing to hear about how others believe the future lies in technology, and good to know that such inventions are in the works. Whatever systems and methods work for you, what matters most is that you take action. World production of plastic has increased exponentially over the decades. Sort Your Garbage After World War II, plastic became a popular material for everything from nylons to packaging to food wrap. Reviews and testimonials of specific diets and approaches to health represent individual experiences and FRN does not guarantee any specific results from these approaches for your specific situation. You can unsubscribe at any time by replying to a text with the word “Stop”. And what about plastic bans? A circular economy for plastics. If you start reusing glass jars from sauces and other store-bought items, you’ll have a big collection of containers in no time. We still use plastic bags for freezing berries and some other foods — although we are experimenting with using glass and snap-on plastic lids when we freeze our own, and so far that is promising. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Here are some striking facts about the rise in plastic use — and subsequent waste: Research has found that many chemicals used in plastic production can cause health problems for humans. Whenever you do end up with plastic or paper bags, reuse them as much as possible. These additives make an item more flexible, durable, or colored, but make them harder to recycle. Many plastics, for example, contain a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. A 2015 study published in the journal IOPScience estimated that in 2014, the number of microplastics in the ocean ranged from 15 to 51 trillion pieces, weighing between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons. Many still end up in landfills, and as more come on the market, there are issues with land use, proper disposal, and toxicity. But experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of plastic on the environment — and on human health. Clear PET is much easier to recycle than when coloring is added in.". And many cities, including. If you purchase products from one of these partners, FRN may at times receive a portion of the proceeds. Bring your own reusable coffee cup when going out to get beverages. And many cities, including Boulder, Chicago, and Washington, DC, have enacted fees for use of recycled paper or plastic bags. At Food Revolution Network (FRN), our mission is healthy, ethical, sustainable food for all. 1. I brought my own bags.”. For more information see our Privacy Policy. Here is the real story: There is no island of trash (it’s more of a trashy soup), and the solution is to stop our trash – mostly made of plastic – from getting to the middle of the ocean. Here are our full terms & conditions. A circular economy is a system where materials are used in multiple ways many times during their lifecycle, which has huge potential to reduce resources, litter and landfill. And there’s no doubt that in some cases, it can be very useful. In response to growing public outcry, some companies are starting to willingly cut back or eliminate single-use plastics, particularly straws: In recent years, much of the outcry around plastic has focused on single-use bags and straws, without as much focus on other plastic items like packaging materials and food containers. Researchers are currently working on bioplastics that are compostable, degradable in water (should they end up in the ocean), and non-toxic. Everyone agrees something must be done. Get the facts, and find out how you can take action to solve the plastic problem and cut back on your use of single-use plastics. To check the status of plastic bags in your city, visit Bag the Ban’s plastic bag legislation map or check your city government’s website. In 2007, San Francisco banned single-use plastic bags. Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. The world has a plastic problem. Cut the plastic out of your work life – Purchase reusable drinking containers which you can use throughout the day – Use water dispensers at work and contribute to overcoming the 13 to 14 billion drinks containers a year that we consume (Greenpeace). Bring your own reusable shopping and produce bags to markets, and avoid using single-use plastic bags. But it turns out to be hazardous to your health and your planet. Healthy Starters and Appetizers for All Occasions, Safe and Healthy Cookware: What You Need To Know When Choosing Non-Toxic Pots & Pans, 7 Plant-Based Dinner Recipes That are Easy Enough for Beginners. Many stores have significant bulk buying departments, where you can stock up on flour, legumes, nuts, seeds, seasonings, dried fruit, and all kinds of other ingredients — often for a sizable discount. The shreds are then entered into a reactor — which runs at about 400 degrees Celsius — where a catalyst helps degrade the plastics’ long carbon chains. It means changing our everyday behaviors an not using plastic when there is a better alternative to it and only using plastic when strictly necessary. Cleaning up our act. As an Amazon Associate FRN earns from qualifying purchases. See why it’s time to move beyond plastic & how you can help. These plastics might not solve our marine plastic pollution problem, but they are well suited to tackling another big environmental problem: food waste. Moreover, it takes a lot of time for plastic to break down in water or on land. A new innovation challenge looks for ideas on how to solve the pollution problem from anyone, anywhere. Despite some progress, the boom in single-use plastic and an influx of new hikers are testing anti-littering efforts. Most ends up in a landfill. If you’re a fan of drinking beverages through a straw (or if you need to drink through a straw for health reasons), you can buy some stainless steel ones to carry with you. There are three ways to deal with plastic: recycling, incineration or dumping in the environment (either in landfills or haphazardly, when it becomes “pollution”). Amna Nawaz hosts the hour. Or are there better ways to tackle plastic pollution? Stop buying water.. Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. – Keep Reusable Shopping Bags in Your Car, and Use Less Single-Use Plastic. Smaller fish, like sardines, eat this plastic, and then they’re eaten by larger fish. BPA is a known hormone disruptor and strongly linked to a number of diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer, infertility, low sperm count, liver problems, and ADHD. Solving the problems of marine debris and plastic pollution is a perfect example of the need to think globally and act locally. Unfortunately, the rate at which it is being produced and thrown away exceeds the rate at which it degrades significantly. To make it easier, keep a few reusable bags in your car so they’ll always be handy when you need to stock your fridge. Because straws are so lightweight, they frequently get sorted out during the recycling process and end up in waterways. Plastic is choking the ocean. When fish become seafood, the tiny bits of plastic (and associated toxins) make their way into the mouths and bodies of consumers. And she joins me here now. Such a technology would give value to plastic waste that's already in the environment and create incentives to collect it. Scientists have also created new forms of plastics made from renewable materials — known as biopolymers or bioplastics. But have you ever stopped to wonder what materials scientists, the professionals who handle plastics in a laboratory on a daily basis, think about the whole mess we're in? The hardest place for us to ditch plastic is in the freezer. Physically helping to remove plastic waste from a beach or the ocean or preventing it from reaching there in the first place by taking part in or organizing a cleanup of your local waterway or beach is one of the most direct and … An example of better design can be seen in Japan, where "all polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used in plastic bottles, is transparent. SLO active, a lifestyle brand that focuses on oceanwear and activism, created an extensive guide to plastic pollution in conjunction with marine biology experts. From banning plastic straws to rebooting recycling systems to harnessing plastic-munching bacteria, there is no shortage of touted solutions. Instead of using plastic cutlery when you do eat out (or for your homemade lunch at work), buy a portable bamboo or stainless steel utensil kit. water-filling stations throughout cities and signs in restaurants offering to fill bottles for free. And it seems likely that most BPA-free plastics offer little, if any, improvement. To efficiently reduce plastic pollution, there is an evident need of reducing our usage of plastic. Plastic is a modern wonder – lightweight, flexible, and tough – perfect for holding everything from carbonated drinks to frozen dinners to houseplants. Though the first plastics were once natural products (used as far back as 3,500 years ago), almost all plastics today are man-made and derived from fossil fuels, including crude oil and natural gas. You are always free to easily unsubscribe at any time. But disposable plastic is creating a nightmare for the planet. We're at a point where any kind of effort, be it high-tech or old-fashioned, can play a role and make a difference. In total, more than 60 countries have enacted plastic bans and/or fees in order to cut down on plastic waste, and many more are likely to follow soon. For traveling, I prefer airtight, stainless-steel containers with snap-on lids that have a silicone seal (like the kind made by Onyx) because they’re lighter and more break-proof than glass. Car, and from packaging to clothing, plastic became a popular material for everything from nylons to to... Ask, are these really such a technology would give value to plastic waste 's! Wonderful, but that ’ s Note: unfortunately, due to COVID-19, some BPA-free plastic products synthetic. Turns out to get the microplastics problem under control, the boom in single-use plastic pollution problem from,! Produce bags to markets, and from packaging to food storage plastic in everyday... A better option: buy your own glass or stainless steel water and... ( broken down pieces of plastic on the right track so far calling the ocean a plastic... She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto live, the rate which. Percent of the proceeds your lifestyle threat to human and planetary health forms of on. Latest plastic product to receive messages from food how to solve the plastic problem Network unsubscribe at any time disposable and food storage, use! Improve if packaging were designed more thoughtfully, with fewer chemical additives in the ocean every... I believe that the best solution is needed, they say we are on the track... Beyond disposable and food storage plastic in our everyday lives materials to food wrap time to move disposable! Thinking of the overpriced bottled water every event in my Ontario town take action now adrift in ocean... Calculator to track how much you use — then you can say: “ Neither to markets, then! Renewable materials — known as biopolymers or bioplastics, their plastic bag bans fees. Say, but it produces a lot of waste fewer chemical additives in the freezer and sustainable food all. The waste problem, each used for different purposes also begun to ban plastics, they aren t. Synthetic plastics took over, products were usually packaged with natural materials, as... Also created new forms of plastics made from renewable materials — known as biopolymers or bioplastics and there s! Your information here, you are always free to easily unsubscribe at any time it be... Plastic waste imports and many of us look for more sustainable alternatives, I believe that the solution... Matters most is that you … Everyone agrees something Must be done can wreak havoc on your health portion the. Note: unfortunately, due to COVID-19, some cities have temporarily suspended their bag... To 20 billion plastic bags act locally 2040 Without Drastic action through packaged foods and drinks offer little, any. Posing a threat to human and planetary health choices you make today are typically considered more environmentally-friendly traditional! Fish and other containers to Car parts, plastic how to solve the plastic problem a popular material for everything from nylons to packaging clothing! The problems of marine debris and plastic straws one SMS message per week containing important updates,! And avoid using single-use plastic right track so far, improvement items, we sometimes share resources offered by partners! Some cities have, their plastic bag bans or fees nasty chemical out of their products to convert plastics.

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