In the western world creating garbage (4.5 pounds average per person per DAY to be exact!) has become the norm. It is taken away once a week and we get to start over so to speak, but where does it go and who is disposing of it? Where do all of those so called recyclable plastic bottles and bags end up?
I had this very question answered last night while listening to a talk on "Re-Thinking Plastic". We were shown a video of shipping containers full of plastic bottles, bags and such being shipped back to their probable origin, China. It showed an entire village of plastic, people knee deep in bottles and bags, all trying to melt it and wash it in hopes of turning it back in to another plastic that they could sell again. The health risks involved with this are staggering and the likely hood that these plastic items will get another chance to be recycled and not end up in our oceans and rivers in unlikely. Sea life is greatly at risk by all of the plastic in our oceans, as they ingest it thinking it is food and eventually die. It may surprise you to know that in fact very few of the plastic items we buy are actually recyclable. Many cities have very limited capabilities to recycle all that is put in the recycle bin. To find out what is actually recyclable in your area go to www.earth911.com and input your zip code.
Feeling overwhelmed? I was too, but there are solutions and ways to begin to clean up our planet and leave it cleaner and healthier for our children. REDUCE and REUSE. These are small everyday actions that we can take that will have a beneficial effect for our environment.
1.) Pledge to not buy another plastic water bottle, get your own personal stainless steel bottle and fill it with perfectly healthy tap water. Go go http://www.kidskonserve.com for eco-cool bottles.
2.) Make conscience choices when it comes to how you shop and what packaging is used. Select items in glass and even aluminum packaging over plastic. Let your grocer know you do not like all of the plastic tubs etc. Ask what kind of plastic the cheese is being wrapped in.
3.) Become familiar with what number plastics are recyclable in your town and purchase only those number plastics. Go to www.earth911.com for more information.
4.) Pledge to take your own reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop and to never use a paper cup again.
5.) Challenge your family to create less trash, use tea towels NOT paper towels, cloth napkins in place of paper, etc.
6.) Start a grass roots effort at your school to create a zero waste campus. Jump start the effort and get a kick back to your school with Kids Konserve, www.kidskonserve.com.