Our planet is beautiful. Can we preserve it for the future generations? Can we all work individually and collectively to do so. I want to share this simple way each of us can work individually to have instant collective impact daily.
Here is what is happening now
The question is are we trashing the planet? Here are the facts; You decide! We, the US population is 5% of the world population. According to http://greenanswers.com, we produce 30 percent of the world's waste, we throw away around 26,800,000 tons of food (food? -when 821 million people now hungry andover 150 million children malnourished and stunted, 2018 statistics), 8,550,000 tons of furniture and furnishings, 6,330,000 tons of clothing and footwear, and tons of other waste. 80% percent of all products produced in the US for local consumption are used only once and then discarded, WE don’t believe in
We, in the US thought we found a solution to our plastic trash problem: We, along with other Rich Western nations have been sending tens of millions of tons of plastic waste to developing Southeast Asian countries for decades and paying them for disposing off the plastic. But Business Insider reports that it is not clear how much of it get there and illegal operators are taking the waste without permission to bury or burn them in illegal incinerators, which releases highly toxic fumes and causes respiratory illnesses and water-contamination issues. Some of these countries are not accepting our waste plastic any more, some even sent back large shipments to the West.
US ranks #1 in the top 5 Countries that produce the Most Waste according to Investopedia. This is about us, we in the US! I am sad to say!
What Do/Can We Do?
We don’t want to have an academic debate about whether we send our garbage to other countries or keep in our back yard? Nor can we wash our hands and say we paid for taking care our garbage because a lot of this garbage is ending up in the ocean. The ocean does not discriminate, the water moves it, dumps it wherever it pleases, no country boundaries nor who paid for the disposal! Unfortunately, it is also hazardous to life in the ocean; can you imagine that a whale (such a beautiful magnificent animal!) can die when it swallows a plastic bag.
Time for Action - here is what we all can do, simple measures, not a grand plan but with grand result:
Let’s start with plastic bags that end up in our landfills. We use plastic bags for everything, from as storage in the freezer to collect yard waste, used only once and discarded. Plastic bags are not biodegradable; experts say plastic bags take 20-30 years to decompose. I am sure you all have seen this picture/table about decomposition rates of our trash on https://www.saveonenergy.com/material-decomposition/
1. In my County, trash collection says plastic bags do not go in recycling bin, they go in trash bin, I don’t know why. Here are some simple ways our Counties/Towns
Simple Solution: Counties/Towns can collect plastic bags separately instead of collecting with general trash and send them to landfills. I am sure that scientists or environmentalists will come up with ideas to dispose them in due course, since we don’t have a way to recycle unless they are marked recyclable.
2. Many of us use plastic bags (large ones) for yard waste. Yard waste is bio-degradable and good for the soil. But the plastic bags will prevent waste integrating into the soil.
Simple Solution: Use bins like instead of bags
3. Another effective long-term solution is to Ban the use of plastic bags by all stores including grocery stores; San Francisco Bay area, London and many more places in Europe have banned them.
Let’s do the math, even if we save one plastic bag per week per person, with 400 million people in the US, we can save 400 million plastic bags per week and that is (400M x 52) is twenty billion eight hundred million plastic bags per year.
I understand we need the use of plastic bags for some Essential applications such as food storage in the freezer, refrigerators and so on. These bags can be collected separately instead of dumping them in landfills along with other trash.
Please send petitions to your respective counties/towns to “totally ban plastic bags unless they are Essential or Reusable bags” and to “collect the Essential plastic bags separately and not dumping in landfills”.
4. People can and do adopt to re-use: Ikea used to give free large shopping bags just like stores such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, so on. Now Ikea sells reusable bags instead. That encouraged people to bring these reusable bags to shop in Ikea. Here are the few ways on how to reuse plastic bags https://harmony1.com/4-ways-to-reduce-the-waste-of-plastic-bags/
PLEASE JOIN ME IN BANNING PLASTIC BAGS.
This is one simple idea. I am sure you all have many ideas. Do please send them to us. We will add them to our blog. Or you can post them on social media like Facebook or whatever you use. Thank you for joining me and good luck on saving the planet for future generations.