Happy Wednesday Watershed Explorers,
Can you imagine a world without plastic? I wish I could say that I can, but it's impossible. Our daily lives are filled with it. I would consider myself and my family to be pretty plastic conscious, yet even we use plastic each day. My day starts with plastic when my alarm goes off on my cell phone! What plastic item is present in your morning routine, toothbrush, toothpaste tube, shampoo bottle, cereal bowl? Some of these plastic items are reusable and take a long time to break down, so as long as you aren't throwing them away too often and buying new plastic items, they aren't terrible. The worst plastics are those that are labeled single-use plastics. Single-use, meaning exactly that, used once and thrown away. Single-use plastics are items such as straws, bags (some people might use these a second or third time, but usually they get thrown out quickly), cutlery (forks, spoons, knives), take-out containers, and cups. These items crowd up the landfill and can take upwards of hundreds of years to break down. Even worse, most of these plastics break down into very tiny pieces called microplastics. These plastics are so tiny that they are eaten by marine life that doesn't even realize the plastics aren't food.
A scientific prediction that has been discussed a lot recently in regards to plastic is that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Many of you have probably seen pictures like the one above of sea creatures swimming amongst plastic. These pictures are taken to show just how bad the plastic problem has become. What these pictures don't show are the many parts of the ocean that are still beautiful and clean. They also don't show all of the organizations that are working hard to clean up the plastics that are already present. There is hope!
Plastic-free July is a movement that is recognized by organizations around the world. It asks people to pledge to take plastic out of some of their daily routines and make July as plastic-free as possible. Click here to sign the pledge and read how to use less plastic https://plasticfree.ecochallenge.org/ Movements such as these help to create permanent change that can positively impact our world. We can change the 2050 prediction by all working together to use less!
Change doesn't need to be difficult or even cost a lot of money. Several years ago now, I stopped buying iced coffee, and started making my own at home. Not only am I saving money, but I use my own cup so that means no plastic cup or straw from the coffee shop! Using a cloth bag when shopping is another easy change to make.
If you are looking for more ideas, or want to learn more about plastics, please check out National Geographic's Kids vs. Plastic pages https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/nature/kids-vs-plastic There are some great toolkits that you can also print.
I hope that you enjoyed this post. Please email me with any questions or comments firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Exploring Watershed Explorers,