We all know we should reduce the amount of plastics in the environment, but how much do we each use that contributes to it? As part of Earth Day 2018, the Earth Day Network (EDN) is promoting an “End Plastic Pollution Campaign.” To help consumers determine their plastic usage, the EDN has released an online Plastics Pollution Calculator. The calculator helps to determine the amount of disposable plastic used in a year. Once you see how much you use and what the largest sources of your plastic use are, you can make plans to reduce it!
According to an April 5, 2018 press release from the Earth Day Network, “91 billion U.S. tons of virgin (non-recycled) plastic has been produced to date, generating 6.9 billion U.S. tons of plastic waste, and only 9% has been recycled. The world is already incapable of properly managing this enormous amount of waste, and the production of plastic is predicted to increase three times in the next 25 years. We know that micro-plastics are polluting our drinking water and the fish we eat and also cause health problems. Littered plastic not only kills wildlife but affects the lives of more than 2 billion people living without waste collection.”
Valeria Merino, Vice-President of Global Earth Day at Earth Day Network, goes on to add, “Plastic pollution is now an ever-present challenge. We can see plastics floating in our rivers, ocean, and lagoons, littering our landscapes and affecting our health and the future of billions of children and youth. We have all contributed to this problem – mostly unknowingly – and we must work to reduce and ultimately to End Plastic Pollution.”
The EDN wants to help consumers reduce plastic consumption and offers a Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit to encourage actions to help reduce their plastic pollution footprint. EDN’s efforts center around the 5 Rs: “Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle and Remove” actions.
The toolkit highlights five easy ways to lessen your plastics impact:
- Ask yourself every time that you are considering buying a disposable plastic item: Do I absolutely need this? Can I use something else that I already have? Could I buy something that I can use long-term instead?
- Prevent the creation of micro-plastics by properly disposing of plastic products and being careful not to toss plastic products near waterways, beaches or in open spaces.
- Pick up plastic trash whenever you see it, especially in ponds, streams, rivers, and beaches.
- Look up products on the internet and choose not to buy products containing microbeads. Choose products that have natural exfoliators instead.
- Consider changing the way you wash your clothing to reduce the number of microfibers that are released, wash synthetic clothes less frequently, purchasing items made of natural fibers when possible.
The Earth Day Network has many campaigns to help our planet. Visit their website to see them all and find one you have a passion for this year to help celebrate Earth Day on April 22!
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