A recent report showed that plastic production contributes to planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions at every point in its life cycle. Coca-Cola has said that it alone produces three million tons of plastic packaging each year, equivalent to a terrifying 200,000 plastic bottles per minute. Do you wonder why? The truth is that we do not know yet the full scale of negative impacts plastic waste can have on marine and terrestrial environments because it hasnt been around long enough to allow us to assess possible scenarios of its influence on natural cycles. We've all become too hooked on the availability and comfort of the stuff. We are a couple of environmentalists who seek inspiration for life in simple values based on our love for nature. Paper vs. Our reliance on these plastics means we are accumulating waste at a staggering rate. Plastic bags are everywhere. You as an individual have the power to make a gradual change in your community. According to the researchers, the turtle likely mistook the straw for food and swallowed it. The majority of plastic bags are made of polyethylene, a substance that is derived from crude oil refining and natural gas processing. According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, microplastics are so small that they move straight through water filtration, Read More What Are Microplastics and Why Are They a Concern? Criddle has evaluated use of microorganisms to biodegrade plastic materials and to synthesize biodegradable bioplastics from waste feedstocks. How Plastic Bottles Become Death Traps for Hermit Crabs. Buy a metal or bamboo reusable straw. Well, a possible alternative solution could be to encourage businesses to only give out plastic straws on request. Then, they have a propensity to break down into microplastics, which then clutter the ecosystems in question. Some opposers of the plastic straw ban say that a ban is unlikely to actually help the environment, as plastic straws do not make up a large percentage of plastic in the ocean. Ask if they have nonplastic alternatives to plastic straws, stirrers, or bags. Once in the ocean, plastic pollution is extremely dangerous to marine life, and plastic straws are no exception. The manufacturing of reusable bags or compostable alternatives to plastic bags offers a new opportunity to create sustainable products and provide jobs that go with them. Such materials already exist in nature. Killing wildlife 5. Buying a product through my link comes at no extra cost to you, and I only recommend products that I believe in. A last example of a true horror caused by plastic has been discovered just recently. Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and serviceware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags. Some experts estimate that more than 1 million sea animals are killed each year by straws and other types of plastic trash. Plastic waste, mostly broken down into tiny particles, floats in huge blobs amid ocean current patterns called gyres that together cover as much as 40 percent of Earths ocean surface. They also arent accepted by recycling facilities because they can jam recycling machinery (due to their small size). Start from yourself and slowly expand to your family and friends. Plastics also permeate freshwater systems like rivers and streams. Individual choicesand the collective shifts they bring aboutadd up quickly. Reusable shopping bags are very durable and can be reused many times over the course of their useful life. (Everything You Need To Know)Continue, Many restaurants have banned plastic straws due to their harmful effects on the environment, and have switched to paper alternatives instead. All Rights Reserved. It is predicted that each year 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean, with 1.152.41 tons of that plastic being carried there by major rivers all over the world. India, for example, generates 25,940 tons of plastic waste every day but collects only 60 percent of it. The phthalate DEHP, as just one example from dozens, is often added to plastic goods like shower curtains and garden hoses to make them more flexiblebut was also found to be a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There is a lot of research now underway on the health effects of ocean plastics, but we already know that some plastics, and the chemicals that attach themselves to plastics in the water, can cause cancer, genetic disruptions and other ill effects. There are many uses for plastic that are not only reasonable but important, such as surgical gloves, or straws for people with disabilities. Paper straws cost on average around 2.5 cents ($0.025), whereas plastic straws cost only half a cent ($0.005). According to a study carried out in 2013, up to 35 percent of turtle deaths were caused by plastic ingestion and the probability that sea turtles will consume even more plastic increases every year [9]. The ban also kept them from littering neighborhoods and the environment. They are a part of our modern lives, and we dont tend to think much about them. The following are ten lines on why plastic bags need to be prohibited: 1) The careless disposal of trash in plastic bags leads to an increase in litter.2) The use of plastic bags contributes to the depletion of our natural resources, including water, trees, and agricultural products.3) Because of the danger it causes to marine life, the total We produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, half of which is for single-use items. Natural Resources Defense Council 2023 Privacy Policy For example, in Botswana, the consumption of plastic bags dropped by 50 percent after the introduction of the tax in 2007. Beached whales have been found with stomachs full of plastic trash. About half the cost of making biodegradable polymers is the cost of feedstock. By simply using less plastic, you can help keep marine life from eating and getting entangled in garbage. Single-use plastics in particularespecially small items like straws, bags, and cutleryare traditionally hard to recycle because they fall into the crevices of recycling machinery and therefore are often not accepted by recycling centers. New and sustainable business models are needed to address the current plastic deluge and also to enable a new generation of sustainable materials and technologies. Activists Say Straws Should Be Banned Because They Are a 'Gateway Plastic' Advocates hope a straw ban will be the first step toward broader plastic prohibitions. NDLA National Disability Leadership Alliance: Nothing About Us Without Us. Some tributaries of the river have been filled with plastic waste to the level that you could almost walk across them without getting your feet wet. The decrease in demand for plastic bags forces manufacturers to reduce their production and consider expanding in a supply of alternative products. Since the 1950s, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics have been produced, and half of that in the past 15 years alone. In this article, Ill go over both the pros and cons of a plastic straw ban. According to some estimates, the cost of plastic bag cleanup is about 17 cents per bag [14] and the cost is paid by us once again. Martin Grimm/Picture-alliance via Associated Press. In 2015 researchers from the University of Georgia estimated that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic per year make their way into the oceans via people living within 30 miles of a coast. In fact, plastic straws only make up around 0.03 percent of total plastic waste by mass. Plastic straws are everywhere we look. Unfortunately, such a high level of pollution doesnt come without consequences. They end up in the water, eaten by wildlife, and inside our bodies. Many of the chemicals in plastics are known endocrine disruptors,and research has suggested that human exposure could cause health impacts including hormonal imbalances, reproductive problems like infertility, and even cancer. Animals living in the ocean might frequently confuse the plastic for food. Plastic waste that clogs water drainage channels and river tributaries of many Asian cities increases exposure of residents to water-borne diseases, as it creates a toxic soup that remains stranded in one place for prolonged periods of time. Ideally, to be suitable for recycling, bags need to be clean to be accepted, which is often a problem, considering that we use them to carry groceries and potentially leaky goods. Greentumble was founded in the summer of 2015 by us, Sara and Ovi. Polyethylene terephthalate, one of the most commonly recycled plastics and the material that makes up most water and soda bottles, can be turned into everything from polyester fabric to automotive parts. However, we are all too familiar with situations when a cashier automatically puts your items in a plastic bag before you can oppose it. LEAPE:Plastic straws are only a tiny fraction of the problem less than 1 percent. Lizzie Carr is shining a light on what is floating through the worlds waterways, and breaking athletic records along the way. It has been projected that, if current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish. Theyve even made their way up to the secluded Pyrenees mountain range and down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. In addition, despite the fact that the FDA has deemed this to be safe for consumption, chemicals from the plastic may seep into liquids, releasing substances that have the potential to influence estrogen levels. Straws are notorious for being readily blown away by the wind. Help us break the cycle of causing unnecessary harm and damage in the name of "convenience". And recent studies found plastic in the guts of 90 percent of the seabirds tested and 100 percent of the turtles. America Needs a Plastics Intervention. You can be sure of one thing, though. According to a 2017 study, more than half of non-fiber plastic, which excludes synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon, comes from plastic packaging alone, much of which is for single-use items. Companies are forced to innovate, rethinking their designs and sourcing sustainable materials. However, as an environmental enthusiast, heres what I think about this ban. They contribute to the contamination of our landfills and seas when they are discarded after use. Our plastic addiction is having a devastating impact on our oceans, our wildlife, and our health. Harmful to human health 6. One of the most significant negative effects that plastic bags have on the natural world is that it takes a very long time for them to degrade.In addition, the breakdown of plastic bags in the sun results in the release of hazardous compounds into the surrounding soil, and the combustion of plastic bags results in the release of a poisonous material into the surrounding air, contributing to the problem of ambient air pollution. Single-use plastics are a glaring example of the problems with throwaway culture. 2. So, plastic waste only speeds up the destruction of these most biodiverse ecosystems on earth. Plastic straws only account for roughly one percent of the total amount of waste plastic found in the ocean. Car Recycling: Everything You Need to Know (With Statistics), Sustainable Diving & Snorkeling: How to Prevent Damage to Marine Ecosystems, What Are Microplastics and Why Are They a Concern? An outright ban on plastic straws would create an accessibility problem for disabled people while dining in public. Plastic straws (like most plastic) are non-biodegradable, meaning that it cant be naturally broken down by decomposers. Additionally, a plastic straw ban could also act as a gateway into other single-use plastic bans for items like plastic bottles and plastic bags, which are worse for the environment than plastic straws. Hi, Im Hugh, and my mission with Get Green Now is to raise awareness of environmental issues and teach people how to live sustainably. This is because the customers voluntarily reduce their consumption of plastic bags, which in turn provides enough time for retailers to find suitable alternatives and switch to them. Here are 3 reasons why plastic straws should not be banned, explained in a simple and easy-to-understand manner: 1. Rating: 5 (913 reviews) Highest rating: 5. Microplastics were found in soft drinks like Coca Cola, in tap water, in seafood It has contaminated our food chain, so it should not surprise us that it can be tracked in our body. Instead of investing in quality goods that will last, we often prioritize convenience over durability and consideration of long-term impacts. You cannot recycle them in the regular curbside collection of plastic, but you should be able to find many larger food stores and retailers (for example: Target, Walmart, Tesco, Morrisons, etc.) In the United States, California has banned single-use plastic bags in 2016, but the city of San Francisco has locally issued this ban already in 2012 and consumers pay a little fee for other alternatives like compostable bags or recycled paper bags. Manufacturers began replacing traditionally paper or glass staples with lighter or more durable and affordable plastic alternatives; plastic jugs replaced milk jars, for instance. We should just stick to plastic. McDonald's recently announced . As part of the Break Free From Plastic movement, Greenpeace volunteers conducted an audit of plastic pollution along coastlines, sifting through tens of thousands of individual pieces across 42 countries to identify the pollutions sources. Skip the Straw - Florida Department of Environmental Protection It topped 60 million tons (54.4 million metric tons) in 2010 based on a September 2018 report titled "Plastic Pollution."But China announced it plans to outlaw the production and sale of . Additionally, someone has to pay the cost of dealing with plastic bags in the waste stream. Those global companies can be important levers in driving change and shifting to a regenerative, circular economy. According to market research firms, Americans use about 350 million plastic straws every single day. As a result, they are thrown away and frequently wind up in the ocean, where they pollute the water and eventually kill marine birds, animals, and fish. By 2030, CEO James Quincey has pledged to use 50 percent recycled material in its bottles and cans and recycle one bottle or can. The explanation is quite simple. High costs for cleanup 8. For most, straws are not a necessity, but a convenience. Animals can also easily become entangled in this plastic waste. Petroleum-based plastic bags are composed of very resistant synthetic polymers that may take up to 1,000 years or never until they completely degrade in natural environments [6]. By comparison, an estimated 46 percent of all pollution in the ocean is made up of lost or abandoned fishing gear (Vox). When you sip beverages through a straw you end up inhaling more air into your belly than you would otherwise. If the environmental movement drew up a Most Unwanted list for 2018, the plastic drinking straw surely would land the eight worst source of ocean plastic pollution, Impact of Plastic Bags on the Environment, non-renewable fossil fuel-based resources, Plastic Bag Degradation: What You Should Know, Serious Effects of Plastic Pollution on Human Health.