Heavy Plastic Use is Driving Pollution and Declining Health
Plastic changed the world. They said it in the 1950s/60s when new manufacturing methods made it much less costly. Cheap plastic paves the way for the plastic future we live in.
All along the way from extracting oil, making chemicals and making the plastic, to the end cycle of throwing it away, usually to be “recycled” as most people think, there is a heavy cost. The cost I’m referring to is not economic. The heavy cost is for polluting and poisoning our environment, and ourselves along with other animals.
I recently watched a good documentary called The Story of Plastic, which came out recently.
The plastic/oil industry has known the goal was a type of panned obsolescence. The goal was to get plastic from purchase to garbage so that people would buy more. Check out the words of Lloyd Stouffer from the Society of the Plastics Industry in 1956:
“The future of plastics is in the trash can.”
Many are already aware of the masses of plastic in the ocean and in landfills. Only 2% of recycled plastic is actually recycled into another product, much of which ends up back in a landfill after, or getting burned.
The burning of plastics produces so much pollution. People’s health is affected, and they develop diseases. These burn plants even prevent recycling of material, because they want the plastic as fuel that they use to burn other stuff in their business model.
Half of the total amount of plastics ever produced, was produced in the past 15 years. THe plastics industry expects itself to expand 2x in the next 20 years. They are getting hundreds of billions in investment from people who just want to make money. Polluting the planet and our health doesn’t matter to them. Only money.
The West has been able to ignore the consequences of its plastic use due to exporting plastics to China for so long. But China put an end to taking the West’s trash recently. This is great. We finally have pressure to deal with our poor behavior. We can correct it.
We all have to work to change our habits, because this is a growing problem that may not affect you personally right now, but it might later, and will certainly affect your descendants down the road.
Originally published on Hive, 4/20/2020 11:52 AM
My city sends me warning letters and possible fines if I put certain types of plastic in the recycle bin (yep, someone is digging in my dirty recycling bin and taking notes). I called them and asked what changed after all these years: They don’t have facilities to recycle certain plastics. NOW, they tell me.
The plastic bags from grocery stores basically break down in a matter of a few months. Throw one in your yard and watch it degrade. But yeah, plastics are a huge problem, world-wide. In a nutshell, the biggest polluters are big businesses, industrial, and manufacturing. I won’t take blame if all they offer me is inside a plastic housing. I do take personal responsibility to make everything I need from scratch before buying it off the shelves.