How to Limit Plastic Usage

Madi Hollinger, Staff writer

Although plastic is a necessity in our daily lives, we cannot deny the drastic effects overproduction has on the environment. Scientists predict that plastic production will go up 40% in the next 10 years, if we continue to abuse the amount of plastic we purchase. Correcting this over usage of plastic can be done, but it will take a massive amount of accumulation to create new habits. In this article we will observe why it is important to reduce plastic usage, and how small steps can be taken to preserve the environment. 

Fueled by an oversupply of fracked gas, plastic production causes the burning of fossil fuels into our atmosphere. To produce water bottles we process oil from non-renewable fossil fuels in order to create the raw materials that compose the bottle. From 1950 to 2012 we produced 1.7 million bottles, grossing at nearly 300 million tons of plastic. Many would argue that they would recycle the bottle after using it, however this isn’t as simple of a process as we think. Because recycling companies have a lot of requirements in order to reuse, most plastic products end up going to waste anyways. Only about 9% of plastic ever produced has been recycled and completely reused. Although beneficial to recycle, reducing is a more practical way to conserve the planet. 

Plastic doesn’t just affect the environment and humans, but it starts to tarnish marine life. Marine wildlife is vulnerable to plastic waste in the ocean, and it continues to pollute the ocean with toxins. Once plastic contaminates the water, there is no way to go back. The plastic in the ocean breaks down and animals eat it. This plastic passes through these animals and continues to float around the water polluting and producing toxins. 

Reducing plastic use is an easy-fix in your daily life. For example, switching from Ziploc bags to reusable containers. When you pack lunches, reusable containers are easy to clean and eliminate unnecessary plastic waste. When you store food at home, you can switch out plastic containers with jars or aluminum containers. When you leave for school use an aluminum bottle or reusable bottle. Hydro Flasks for example, are durable and keep your water cold. You can fill up your bottle at a fountain, and get rid of plastic water bottles.