When Too Much Plastic is Way Too Much Plastic
Fact: 20-25% of landfill weight is plastics. Landfills are one of the most common waste disposal methods in the United States today, with an overall increase in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) consistent with population increase.
In the 1960s, about 1% of MSW was made up of plastics. This has increased by 12% (30 million tons) in 2008. 43% of this is made up of plastic packaging, 22% made up by non-durable goods, and 35% consists of durable goods. Total? 11.3 million tons of just containers and packaging end up in landfills each year.
Plastic is going into landfills in alarming amounts, and is one of the hardest materials on the planet to break down properly. It doesn’t biodegrade – which means that natural bacteria are unable to break it down. What happens instead is a process called photo degradation, wherein the sun breaks it apart into smaller and smaller pieces – still plastic, by the way – eventually becoming individual molecules of plastic that just sit there and do absolutely nothing, still too tough for anything to digest. Landfills are filling up fast, and soon there won’t be any space left as the planet goes about wastefully and irresponsibly using plastics in everyday life.
Most people agree that the sensible solution to this problem is to reuse and recycle, and to do it well. By maximizing the use of plastics in our lives, using them and reusing them as many times as humanly possible, we lessen the amount of waste volume we throw out, thus lessening the amount going into landfills. Recycling the products by turning what plastic materials we already have on hand into ‘new’ products achieves more or less the same effect.
Another option is to use biodegradable plastic products in lieu of non-biodegradable ones. These are made from natural material and can be broken down naturally. Yet still another, but far more drastic, option is to live completely plastic-free, but most people find that this lifestyle is an exercise in futility, as plastic is literally everywhere nowadays.
In the end, the best solution is still to use plastic as responsibly as we can. Single-use plastic products like packaging, plastic straws and other disposable items are things that we can live without with a little ingenuity and some common sense. If we can somehow lessen the waste volume of these products being brought to the landfills, we’re probably doing the planet a bigger favor than we think. So think twice before you pick up that straw on your way from the counter at your favorite fast-food. Use reusable cloth bags to carry your purchases in. Mother Nature will thank you in the end. PlasticPlace.net makes garbage bags that are made out of 80% recycled material, doing its best in helping to preserve our environment. Make the responsible choice today, use Plastic Place. Visit their website at http://www.plasticplace.net.