More Eco Blogs
- A Guide to Being Glamorously Green
- The Story of Cosmetics
- Indulge in delicious, decadent chocolate... that is FAIR for everyone!
- Elemental Connections Part 4 of 4: AIR
- Elemental Connections Part 3 of 4: EARTH
- Elemental Connections Part 2 of 4: FIRE
- Gas Prices - should it matter to you?
- The Problem with Plastics
- Going Shopping, it's all about the packaging!
- Global Warming and Our Planet
- Halloween Eco Tips
- Ecological Footprint... how big is YOURS?
- What's Happening to Our Planet?...and what can we do about it?
June 2008 Blogs
- Real Girl: Shevya
- Feeling Stuck When Friends Are Changing
- No Matter What!
- Career Watch: Wedding Planner
- Ponytails of Love
- How to Create Your Own Time Capsule
- Ask a Guy: best childhood memory, fave sport, fashion and the way you look, guys pants hanging low
- The Problem with Plastics
- Gnarls Barkley, Rap/Alternative
- Panic at the Disco, Rock/Punk/Alternative
- Locks and Lashes: will my hair turn green, makeup and sensitive skin, sunscreen and moisturizer, stage makeup tips
- Spring Cleaning
The Problem with Plastics
ECO NEWS, June 2008, by Deanna Fry
It’s everywhere! Take a look around you, how many times did you see or use plastic today? How did it all start?
Here in North America, plastic has become a huge part of our everyday lives. I’m willing to bet there are things you don’t even realize are made of plastic, like some of the synthetic fabrics you wear. From furniture, to lunch containers, clothing and cars - plastics are everywhere.
How It Started
Alexander Parkes first made plastic from cellulose, an organic plant material, in 1862 and called it ‘Parkesine’. The fact that it could be heated, molded and retained it’s shape when cooled made it very novel and versatile. ‘Celluloid’ came along next, and was used to make the photographic film for photography and motion pictures. That’s right, plastic started the movie industry!
As plastics evolved they became fully ‘synthetic’, meaning, they were made completely through chemical synthesis by humans, rather than coming from natural origins. As a petroleum by-product, plastic is made largely from oil. This liquid form of fossil fuel, which was created millions of years ago by the decomposition of plants and animals, is pumped up from deep under the earth’s surface. It is then transported, treated, processed, extruded and molded to create convenient, durable consumer items.
It Doesn’t Go Away
Sounds cool, but the problem is that plastic lasts so long. Things made out of plastic can take thousands of years to decompose. Imagine, the plastic packaging in your lunch will outlast you and your great, great, great (and so on) grandchildren!
You know about recycling. It’s better than sending something to landfill (where, by the way, everything is wrapped in plastic, which preserves the garbage even longer...), but it still uses energy. REUSING plastic is even better, if it’s safe (there are some serious questions lately about the safety of plastic containers... but that’s another story).
What To Do
Your smartest bet is to REDUCE YOUR USE of plastic and energy. Reducing has to come first. In other words, think before you buy, or don’t buy it and don’t use it. You have the power of choice, and in our society there is so much to choose from! Sometimes choosing to go without is the best choice you can make; for yourself, for other people and for the planet!