Astonishing Facts About Plastic Pollution: Seas the Day & Help Us Be the Change
Plastic pollution is a global crisis threatening our environment. Learn about the impact of plastic waste and join us in taking action against plastic pollution.
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
Why Is Plastic Pollution Such a Big Deal
Go to any store, scan the shelves, and what do you see?
Plastic products, in plastic packaging, wrapped in more plastic.
It’s not uncommon to even see fruits and vegetables packaged in plastic despite the fact that most of them have their own natural form of protection.
Plastic started out as a win for people and a win for animals, replacing the use of ivory and tortoiseshell, but now it has overtaken our lives and the planet.
Plastic has powered modern life from medical discoveries, medical safety, cars, and even space travel. But it’s quickly building up on our planet with nowhere to go.
In 2015, only 20% of all plastic was recycled into a new product. The remainder was landfilled or incinerated.
8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. That amount is equivalent to placing 5 garbage bags on every foot of coastline around the world.
Plastic doesn’t degrade. It just breaks down into smaller pieces known as microplastics and nanoplastics.
Plastic particles have been found at the top of Mount Everest, as deep as we can go in the Mariana Trench, and even in rain.
So what can we do?
10 Solutions to Curbing Plastic Pollution
The solutions to curbing the plastic problem range from small, individual action items we can all make to large governmental legislation.
- Reduce your plastic usage & replace it with reusables.
- Avoid single-use plastic (suggestions below).
- Avoid small plastics that are unlikely to be recycled, like cosmetic jars.
- Be the change. If you see plastic pollution, pick it up (if you can).
- Know where plastic is hidden in your products. Replace it or avoid it altogether.
- Recycle better. Know what your municipality can recycle and only send those items to the facility.
- Vote & fight for legislation such as bag bans.
- Pressure local government to enforce plastic bans and create better waste management rules.
- Ask & call out companies to do better. From local restaurants to major corporations.
- Rethink your wardrobe — or at least your next purchase. Try to avoid fast fashion and plastic materials.
Learn More About Plastic Pollution
Check out your local bookstore for the following:
- Turning the Tide On Plastic (How Humanity And You Can Make Our Globe Clean Again), by Lucy Siegle
- Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, by Susan Freinkel
- Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic , edited by Jennifer Gabrys, Gay Hawkins and Mike Michael
- Plastisphere: A podcast on plastic pollution in the environment by Anja Krieger (Start With Ep 9: The Discovery of Plastic) (Listen on Spotify)
- Downside Up, CNN: What if We Lived in a World Without Plastic? (Listen on CNN)
- Blue Earth by Future Frogmen: The Scourge of Plastic: A Conversation With Ms. Dianna Cohen (Listen on Spotify)
What You Can Do to Help Plastic Pollution Right Now
Refuse plastic whenever possible. It’s okay to say no!
BYO and ditch single-use plastic.
Go room by room and swap for sustainable alternatives around your house.
Shop secondhand and incorporate more slow fashion into your wardrobe.
Shop in bulk whenever possible.
Opt for plastic-free fruits and vegetables.
Take your own containers to restaurants for leftovers.
Ditch plastic wrap for good.
Prioritize refillable and recyclable (beauty) products.
Support sustainable, small businesses over large plastic-mongering corporations.
Participate in a trash cleanup!
Advocate for your beliefs! Support organizations doing the work like Greenpeace and their petition demanding that the CEOs of the largest plastic producers take responsibility.
Replace Single-Use Plastic With These Fantastic Swaps
Shop plastic-free alternatives on ZWS. These are a few of our favorite single-use plastic swaps, but check out our website and blog for more suggestions!
Reusable Cotton Pads
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Zero Waste Sponge Cloths
Stainless Steel Straws