To date, around 60 countries and municipalities around the world have instituted plastic bag bans, and additional seven countries are planning to enforce the law in the closest future. The Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth - its people, The people of Macon, Georgia, saw through it. There are many uses for plastic that are not only reasonable but important, such as surgical gloves, or straws for people with disabilities. A Ban Could Harm Local Businesses If For the oceans sake, wed better hope so. Its because Asian and US coastlines release large amounts of plastic waste in the ocean [7]. A plastic straw ban could be a good step in the right direction, but we must use less single-use products overall to actually help the environment. By simply using less plastic, you can help keep marine life from eating and getting entangled in garbage. Already in 2001, researchers found that the mass of microscopic plastic fragments in the North Pacific Central Gyre was 6 times higher than of plankton. This is due to the fact that the plastic tubes are far too lightweight to be recycled in an efficient manner. You could either discuss with a store manager a possibility of bringing your own containers for these products. Theyve even made their way up to the secluded Pyrenees mountain range and down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Companies are trying to sell communities on a toxic solution to the plastic pollution crisis. State Disclosures. To make matters worse, if plastic straws get into the ocean, they can be mistaken for food by marine animals. Even if plastic doesnt end up in the ocean, recycled plastic is often exported from high-income countries to developing countries to process. McDonald's recently announced . A 2017 Environmental Sciences and Technology study reported that up to 95 percent of plastic waste enters oceans from one of 10 riverseight in Asia and two in Africa. These pieces can be so small that they are invisible to our eye. So, for example, companies need to not only make products that are recyclable, but actually make them out of recycled or truly biodegradable material. According to a study carried out in 2013, up to 35 percent of turtle deaths were caused by plastic ingestion and the probability that sea turtles will consume even more plastic increases every year [9]. Some companies are taking initiative on their own. Start from yourself and slowly expand to your family and friends. American beaver populations are booming in the western United States as conditions grow hotter and drier. So, plastic waste only speeds up the destruction of these most biodiverse ecosystems on earth. More and more states are looking to pass a new kind of recycling law that asks manufacturers to foot the bill for the waste created by their products. These modern conveniences are so ubiquitousand so quickly thrown outthat they hardly register in our minds. The first country to ban single-use plastic bags was Bangladesh in 2002 when plastic bag litter clogged drainage channels and contributed to destructive floods. These actions are a response to calls for change and shifting consumer habits. In the United States, California has banned single-use plastic bags in 2016, but the city of San Francisco has locally issued this ban already in 2012 and consumers pay a little fee for other alternatives like compostable bags or recycled paper bags. And they help shift consumer mind-sets, as people begin to recognize that exorbitant and avoidable waste is not sustainable. The country instituted the ban in 2013 to minimize livestock deaths. Therefore, a plastic straw ban by itself is unlikely to be very effective in actually helping the environment, although it could act as a gateway into the reduction of other single-use plastics. Such materials already exist in nature. Buy in bulk. Instead of investing in quality goods that will last, we often prioritize convenience over durability and consideration of long-term impacts. . 82 percent of the responding food service establishments were aware of the prohibition, and 69 percent of those establishments viewed the ban favorably. The truth is that we do not know yet the full scale of negative impacts plastic waste can have on marine and terrestrial environments because it hasnt been around long enough to allow us to assess possible scenarios of its influence on natural cycles. Plastic fragments in the ocean such as those from plastic bags can absorb pollutants like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) easily. Straws are notorious for being readily blown away by the wind. Look for another place that does accept or use alternative packaging, such as small local stores that use paper wraps or compostable bags. India, for example, generates 25,940 tons of plastic waste every day but collects only 60 percent of it. You as an individual have the power to make a gradual change in your community. About half the cost of making biodegradable polymers is the cost of feedstock. Criddle isdirector of StanfordsCodiga Resource Recovery Center,a member ofStanford Bio-Xand an affiliate of thePrecourt Institute for Energy. But these cases make up a small fraction of single-use plastic. 5 Metals in your Home that can be Recycled for Cash, How exactly bidets offer a healthier, green option for your bathroom, A Closer Look at General Motors (GM) Sustainability Initiatives. Heres everything you need to know before plastic carryout bags disappear from the Empire State on March 1. For those governments that are opposed to full bans on plastic bags, another option is to institute a plastic bag tax, where consumers or retailers would pay a small fee for each plastic bag. We can also decrease costs through improved bioprocessing methods, through metabolic engineering and by exploring and harnessing the incredible diversity of bioplastic-making systems that evolution has already created. Our reliance on these plastics means we are accumulating waste at a staggering rate. Most of it is either dumped in landfills or ends up in the ocean. Plastic bag bansideally accompanied by a fee on paper bagsare also catching on. According to the researchers, the turtle likely mistook the straw for food and swallowed it. For many of us it is hard to imagine that something as small as a plastic bag can actually cause flooding, but residents of some cities in Bangladesh have been struggling with this problem every monsoon season for the past two decades [3]. According to the findings of a study that was carried out in 2019 by students at the University of Washington, 78 percent of respondents used straws made of biodegradable materials that are in compliance with the prohibition, and 68 percent used utensils that are in compliance with the ban. This strategy has been adopted by some countries and municipalities so far and has proven to greatly reduce plastic bag usage by consumers. She can remember all of her vehicles the Pontiac 6000, her familys car that was passed on to her when she went to college; the Volkswagen Rabbit, and later Fox, that took her through young adulthood; the Honda Civics,, Read More Car Recycling: Everything You Need to Know (With Statistics)Continue, Whether youre a scuba diver, snorkeler, or amateur swimmer, the ocean is a playground where you come to explore the beauty of nature and the difference from your regular lifes environment. When the monsoon rains start, streets get waterlogged just after the first few minutes because the water cannot pass through clogged sewerage pipes. If the answer is yes, you should know that this inadvertent overconsumption of single-use plastic carries with it a very high cost to the environment, which in turn also negatively affects our health. However, if a plastic straw ban is properly implemented with education about single-use plastics, then the ban could encourage the public to reduce their usage of other single-use plastics as well. Coca-Cola makes an estimated 110 billion plastic bottles a year. Some microplastics are even small by design, like the microbeads used in facial scrubs or the microfibers in polyester clothing. It started with cardboard straws, but once plastic production in America increased, people realized it was quicker and cheaper to produce plastic straws. According to some estimates, the cost of plastic bag cleanup is about 17 cents per bag [14] and the cost is paid by us once again. Plastic straws are also the 6th most common trash item found during ocean cleanups. Additionally, plastics in our digestive tract may affect absorption of some important trace elements (like iron) which we need for maintaining proper health [13]. In 2015 researchers from the University of Georgia estimated that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic per year make their way into the oceans via people living within 30 miles of a coast. Exposure to microplastics, as well as the chemicals that are added to plastics during processing, harm our health. The single biggest reason why people want to ban plastic straws is because of their negative effects on the environment. The crucial challenge is to ensure that these bans are just a first step. Our goal is to inspire people to change their attitudes and behaviors toward a more sustainable life. Talk to the owners of the restaurants you frequent. Will Shifting to Reusable Straws Really Make a Difference? Some Disabled People Require Plastic Straws to Drink For some people with disabilities, straws are the only way they can drink. The manufacturing of reusable bags or compostable alternatives to plastic bags offers a new opportunity to create sustainable products and provide jobs that go with them. Banning plastic straws is also increasingly popular. Help us break the cycle of causing unnecessary harm and damage in the name of "convenience". 10 reasons why plastic straws should be banned. Plastic straws are everywhere we look. Look around and you will notice that plastic bags are the most common litter. However, I do believe that we should limit our use of plastic straws by asking businesses to only give out straws on request. As communities act to ban single-use plastics and individual consumers raise concerns, bigger actors pay attention. Plastic is putting a strain on waste management systems, our oceans, and vulnerable communities the world over. The crucial challenge is to ensure that these bans are just a first step, offering a natural place to start with low-hanging fruit so long as its part of a much more fundamental shift away from single-use plastics across the value chains of these companies and our economy. Policies like bottle bill lawswhich generally require retailers to add a fee on individual bottles, which can then be partially redeemed by customers when they recycleare a way to increase corporate responsibility for waste while providing a monetary incentive to recycle. You can share this article on social media by using the share buttons below. How? NRDCs Eric Goldstein gives the scoop on the latest environmental villain and explains why plastic straws really are a big menace to our oceans. How Plastic Bottles Become Death Traps for Hermit Crabs. Overall, the main reason for a plastic straw ban is to help the environment by preventing plastic straws pollution. Growing public concern has inspired movements to ban single-use plastics, most notably straws. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. A wave of single-use plastic bans is sweeping the country and the globemost often on plastic bags, straws, stirrers, and takeout clamshells. Plastic is more sanitary and safer to use than other alternatives. Quick Navigation for Reasons Why Plastic Shopping Bags Should Be Banned, [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20] Single-use plastics in particularespecially small items like straws, bags, and cutleryare traditionally hard to recycle because they fall into the crevices of recycling machinery and therefore are often not accepted by recycling centers. High costs for cleanup 8. Making just one simple swap, like purchasing a reusable water bottle, can spare the environment hundreds of plastic bottles each year. We all are just trying to do our job well. [PDF] Skip The Straw - 10 Reasons Fact Sheet - Kids. Prior the ban, 70 percent of livestock losses were attributed to plastic bag ingestion. Similar fate has met dolphins, seals, cats, dogs, deer and many other animals which got severely cut on their bodies due to plastic bag entanglement. Spare Yourself the Guilt Trip This Earth DayIts Companies That Need to Clean Up Their Acts, These Fanciful Sea Creatures Were Carried in on the Tide. Ideally, to be suitable for recycling, bags need to be clean to be accepted, which is often a problem, considering that we use them to carry groceries and potentially leaky goods. Recycling more plastic, more frequently, reduces its footprint. As it turns out, many microorganisms make moldable bioplastic polymers that are fully degradable. Alarmingly, scientists estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight in 2050. Stanford experts discuss the limitations of these bans and the potential for meaningful change. update email soon. This is because the customers voluntarily reduce their consumption of plastic bags, which in turn provides enough time for retailers to find suitable alternatives and switch to them. Because of this, the plants and wildlife in the area have a potential risk of absorbing the microplastics through their diets and drinking water. As part of the Break Free From Plastic movement, Greenpeace volunteers conducted an audit of plastic pollution along coastlines, sifting through tens of thousands of individual pieces across 42 countries to identify the pollutions sources. Thats bad news for our carbon reduction goals: if plastic production continues unabated, its greenhouse gas emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year by 2030equal to adding nearly 300 new coal-fired power plantseven as the need to curb global climate change becomes more urgent. New research shows their prolific dam building benefits river water quality so much, it outweighs the damaging influence of climate-driven droughts. The second, more fundamental imperative is to get plastics out of our waste stream. New York State and Hawaii just passed theirs, set to go into effect in 2020, and Californias bag ban, which was passed in 2014, has been shown to have reduced plastic bag usage by 85 percent (with some customers opting to pay a 10 cent fee for thicker plastic bags) and has reduced coastal pollution. They suspect that it may add stress on the liver by introducing more pathogens into the body. And, if you dont like wearing the same shirt or pants, Read More Dont wash it if it doesnt look dirtyContinue, At age 50, Kay is a little over halfway through her life as a driver. On other issues, from overfishing to deforestation, we have seen that consumer-facing companies like McDonalds, Unilever and Walmart can be exquisitely sensitive to the concerns of their customers. A complete ban on plastic straws would harm disabled people, which definitely isnt the goal of such a ban. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems facing our world today. Instead of searching for another buyer, maybe some soul-searching is in order. Each year on two far-flung Australian islands, more than half a million hermit crabs die after becoming trapped inside our plastic waste. Though plastica chain of synthetic polymers, essentiallywas invented in the mid-19th century, it wasnt until the 1970s that its popularity skyrocketed. They contribute to the contamination of our landfills and seas when they are discarded after use. About; Disability Vote Blog; Organizer's Forum; Issues; News; NDLA Webinars Straws made of paper are neither recyclable nor capable of decomposition. A straw with our iced coffee, a plastic bag to carry our takeout, a wrapper on a candy bar: taken individually, each seems harmless. Try reusable and compostable beeswax wrap for an easy and decorative option. Sadly, one of their newly acquired enemies is created by us who should protect them instead. They are tinier than a palm of your hand and appear so fragile when struggling across the beach to make it to the sea. The small pilot whale, found in a Thai canal this past June, is another symptom of a crisis in the worlds oceans. Es gratis registrarse y presentar tus propuestas laborales. ), then its clean! The production of these bags is very energy intensive. Even when you dont see it, these indestructible particles are everywhere around us, including in the food chain. Microplastics were found in soft drinks like Coca Cola, in tap water, in seafood It has contaminated our food chain, so it should not surprise us that it can be tracked in our body. BY Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, As Colorado River wanes, water supplies and ecosystems hang in the balance, Riverfront forest restoration can deliver outsized benefits, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, An AI solution to climate models gravity wave problem, Beavers will become a bigger boon to river water quality as U.S. West warms. Starbucks plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020. Plastic bags are a convenient way to carry our purchased goods when we go shopping. At the beginning of July 2018, Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban plastic straws. Your email address will not be published. Made from petroleum products, Baekland's " bakelite " plastic was a revolutionary material. We all know what the debate is between plastic and paper straws but paper straws are horrible they will immediately break apart in your mouth and feel horrible. No! For wildlife, microplastics can be particularly dangerous; when eaten they can easily accumulate inside an animals body and cause health issues, like punctured organs or fatal intestinal blockages. Let companies that make your favorite products know that you care about the packaging. In this essay on should plastic be banned, it is very important to put forth the fact that there are many bodies of health and environmental governance around the world who argue that plastic ban can be problematic stating the following reasons-. Not easy to recycle 7. Among the U.S. cities to outlaw plastic straws are Malibu, Berkeley, Seattle, and Miami Beach. The Pasig River is the eight worst source of ocean plastic pollution in the world. Criddle and Leape are also senior fellows at theStanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Or you may need to accept that plastic bag this time and then start campaigning for a plastic bag ban in your area . 1 producer of plastic waste in the world. But this comes along with many unanswered questions. Starting in the 1960s, plastic straw manufacturing took off. We will Then, they have a propensity to break down into microplastics, which then clutter the ecosystems in question. This leaves few other alternatives other than plastic straws. Unfortunately, such costs are typically not included in most economic analyses, as they are not easy to calculate because the equation would have to involve many indirect variables.
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