This past week during Dr. Dasch’s Zoology class we learned about being environmentally friendly and how even though we may be thinking and doing environmentally friendly acts we still may still just be hurting the environment. We watched a few videos about one of the most polluting products, and how we should approach it and how to recycle it. That product is, plastic.
Plastic is one of those products in our daily lives that we use all the time and we use it so much now that we don’t even realize how much we are using it. Plastic can go from the plastic cup you get when ordering something from Starbucks to the plastic straw. Even the soda/water bottles at lunch. To the plastic bags you get your groceries in. What we learned was how difficult it exactly is to recycle plastic. It’s so difficult because we use it so much that the amount that actually gets recycled is just a minimal fraction of how much we use on a daily basis. For example, we can’t recycle plastic bags anymore because they get caught in the recycling machines. Another example the plastic bottles we use for our drinks are destroying the environment. Specifically in our oceans, as of 2018, we have 11 giant plastic islands that are floating in our oceans. Which are affecting our sea life extremely negatively. Fish are eating the tiny bits of plastic thinking it’s food and they end up starving themselves to death because their bodies don’t register plastic as not being food. Because of that we get affected. When fish eat the plastic they not only die, but don’t get the nutrients they need to survive. So naturally, when the fish lands on our dinner plate we are in a way eating plastic in fish. The worst part of it all is that plastic takes hundreds of years to recycle, hundreds of years. So all the efforts to “clean the oceans” will barely help sea life in the oceans. The only thing our generation can do now to prevent further destruction of our sea life is by halting further use of plastic and any other harmful products that are affecting our ecosystems negatively. Because we cannot undo what is already done. “Its like trying to clean up an overflowing sink.” You clean up all the water off the floor, but it won’t do any good if you let the water keep running. You have to shut it down at its source. Then clean up.
In conclusion, if we as a generation want to make the slightest effort to improve the health of our ecosystems we must eradicate any further use of plastic. But for all the plastic we’re using currently at this moment. The best way to use and recycle it is by using the plastic product to its maximum capacity and recycling it cautiously. For example take a water bottle. To recycle that water bottle properly you must take the cap off and the plastic ring off that sits under the cap enclosure. And throw the bottle itself into the recycling bin and the cap and ring into the trash. Unfortunately we can’t recycle those caps. (Fun Fact: The combined weight of the cap and ring; weighs the same as the entire bottle). With that said limit the use of plastic and when you do use it. Use it to its maximum capacity, like reusing a plastic water bottle, then recycle it properly. Other than that revert to using paper bags and those are easier to recycle.