To the Editor,
Plastic pollution is more and more in the news these days. We now know that micro-plastics are everywhere— in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the food we eat. There’s plastic in the oceans and in the soil. Our landfills are filling up with plastic. Just about everything we buy includes plastic packaging.
With COVID-19 we are using even more plastic bags and antiseptic wipes (which are also made of plastic).
The World Economic Forum recently stated that only two percent of plastic is being recycled effectively. To be specific, their figures tell us that 32 percent ends up as litter, 40 percent is land filled, 14 percent is incinerated and 14 percent is recycled (but only two percent is recycled effectively to a grade equal to the original plastic). And plastic can only go through the recycling system once.
So that’s the problem, right? We are not recycling effectively. Wrong. That’s what the plastic industry wants us to believe. That we are the problem. But the real problem is that the plastic industry is going full tilt to create new ways for us to use plastic in every aspect of life. And that’s really a problem, because using plastic is so easy. And plastic is really cheap. Cheaper than paper or glass.
The real cost of plastic is that we are literally drowning in it. And we are just beginning to realize some of the health problems associated with all that plastic.
So how do we get ourselves out of this mess? One way is that we could all start using less plastic. But perhaps an even more important way is for our governments to take action.
We’ve seen them take action against COVID-19. The federal government needs to limit and regulate the use of all unnecessary plastics, beginning with single use plastics.