Save the World, Stop Using So Much Plastic

 if we don't change our ways, we'll end up like this cat...stuck in a world of plastic ( image source )

if we don't change our ways, we'll end up like this cat...stuck in a world of plastic (image source)

A new study shows that we have created over 18.2 TRILLION POUNDS (9 million tons) of plastic since the 1950's.  

Here's what 18.2 trillion looks like in actual numbers - 18,000,000,000,000.

That's equivalent to 25,000 Empire State Buildings.  Or 475,000 St. Louis Gateway Arches.  Or 43,000,000,000 Mountains from Game of Thrones.

And if that wasn't shocking enough, they also found that only 9% of it had been recycled.

Why Does This Happen?

I've always found it interesting that people will take care of their houses ("material homes"), but not take any of the same efforts to take care of their environment ("global home").

Is it a lack of education?  Materialistic perspective?  Learned behavior?  Selfishness?  Laziness?  Apathy?  Quarterly financial reports?

I don't know why we're having such a problem with our environment.  It seems like a no-brainer - take care of the place you live for yourself and future generations.  But if you peer into politics you'll see even just the thought of this concept causes dissonance and arguments.

7th Generation Policy

America wasn't always like this.  In fact, it's original members, Native Americans, lived by the Seventh Generation Philosophy.  This concept was a simple:

the current generation of humans should live and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future

It's stability.  It's community.  It's compassion.  

It's the right thing to do.

It's making sure the children of the future will be able to enjoy what we have today.  

What to Do?

There are many global things we can do.  Join clubs.  Donate to organizations.  Volunteer.  Vote. 

But as Aldous Huxley said,

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.

So instead of being overwhelmed by trying to transform the world, we should start with ourselves.

7 Ways to Make an Impact

1. Recycle

It's easy.  

Just get another garbage container and throw recyclable objects away in that container.

Look up what items your town recycles and when they pick it up.

There's no excuse not to do this one.

 use your 90's nostalgia as motivation ( image source )

use your 90's nostalgia as motivation (image source)

2. Buy a Water Filter

I know it seems expensive.  But it's much cheaper in the long run.

Plus, it'll cut down dramatically on the amount of plastic from water bottles.

3. Use Water Bottles

It can be as fancy as a Klean Kanteen or as simple as a plastic squirt bottle.

Buy a few of them and leave them at different locations (home, work, car, etc).

Not only will it cut down on buying drinks in stores packaged in plastic, but it'll improve your health as well.

 it doesn't matter what kind of water bottle you use, just make sure you know how to use it ( image source )

it doesn't matter what kind of water bottle you use, just make sure you know how to use it (image source)

4. Use Metal Utensils

Bring them to work to cut down on disposable utensils (no pun intended).

And tell the take out places that you don't need their plastic utensils.

 edward scissor hands was way ahead its time, both cinematically and environmentally ( image source )

edward scissor hands was way ahead its time, both cinematically and environmentally (image source)

5. Buy Glass Containers

It looks cooler.

It lasts longer.

It doesn't leach chemicals.

And it'll save the planet.

 glass containers are also good for smushing manatee faces ( image source )

glass containers are also good for smushing manatee faces (image source)

6. Use a Reusable Grocery Bag

You might not look cool walking into the grocery store with them, but at least you won't be responsible for this...

There are currently 5 massive plastic islands in our oceans right now (not kidding).

And almost 1,000,000 marine animals die each year from plastic bags.

7. Buy in Bulk / Avoid Single Serve Items

It'll save you money.

And a lot of plastic.

Summary

It's not a political thing.  

It's a human thing.  It's an animal thing.  It's an earth thing.

There are many ways we can make an impact.  

If we all took responsibility for our own carbon footprint, we'd be leaving our children a much better world to live in.

And isn't that much more important than the convenience of disposable utensiles and plastic grocery bags?


For more ways to reduce plastic check out these websites (here, here, here).


Donate to Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a growing global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment (non-for-profit).