The ‘Plastic Tide’ in numbers – Where does your cup go?

A worker spreads out plastic bags for recycling at Dombivili on the outskirts of Mumbai December 5, 2009. India set a goal on Thursday for slowing the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, the last major economy to offer a climate target four days before the start of U.N. talks on combating global warming. REUTERS/Arko Datta (INDIA ENVIRONMENT EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

In this chapter of the Disposable cup book of scares we will be dealing with some of the staggering facts surrounding the consumption of plastics in our society.

Disposable cups, Comrade, are contributing to the overwhelming global plastic crisis we humans find ourselves in. For it is a problem we humans alone have created as plastic is a substance the earth just cannot digest.

The facts that follow have been sourced from the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Their movement is to create a plastic free would and encourage individuals to deny plastic products in their every day lives. As you’ll soon discover Comrade, to achieve this goal would benefit the planet on a global scale.

But I’ll let the facts speak for themselves…

Plastic never goes away.

Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet illogically, 33 percent of it is used once and then thrown away. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Plastic piles up in the environment.

Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. Only 8 percent of that gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, is incinerated, or becomes the invasive species known as  ‘litter.’

Plastic spoils our groundwater.

There are thousands of landfills in the United States. Buried beneath each one of them, plastic leachate full of toxic chemicals is seeping into groundwater and flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.

Plastic poisons our food chain.

Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans and waterways, are eating microplastics and absorbing their toxins. The substance displaces nutritive algae that creatures up the food chain require.

Plastic attracts other pollutants.

Manufacturers’ additives in plastics, like flame retardants, BPAs and PVCs, can leach their own toxins. These oily poisons repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris.

Plastic affects human health.

Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Plastic threatens wildlife.

Entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption all result from plastic ending up in the spaces where animals live. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.

Plastic costs billions to abate.

Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds—because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.

TAKE THE 4Rs PLEDGE

REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it.

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic.

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

Subscribe to Plastic free times – End the Cup Madness

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