Plastic is a commodity that people use everyday which makes daily life easier and safer. People take pills, use cell phones, and wear bike helmets in addition to a plethora of other activities, but tend to forget that one common element in all of them is the use of plastic. One of the main sources of plastic that has been polluting the environment over the last few decades are plastic bags. Plastic bags can be found in nearly every store to hold groceries, accessories, or toys. While these plastic bags may provide convenience for customers, there is an overwhelming concern about the effect of them on the health and safety of people, marine life, and the surrounding environment.
Plastic is a commodity that people use everyday which makes daily life more convenient. People take pills, use cell phones, and wear bike helmets in addition to a plethora of other activities, but tend to forget that one common element in all of them is the use of plastic. One of the main sources of plastic that has been polluting the environment over the last few decades are plastic bags. Plastic bags can be found in nearly every store to hold groceries, accessories, or toys. While plastic bags may be useful for customers, there is an overwhelming concern about their effect on the health and safety of people, marine life, and the environment.
Plastic is a necessity to everyday life as we know it. Throughout a normal day, plastic is interacted with countless times in some form or another. Being such a versatile and cheap material, it is a no brainer as to why it is used so frequently in disposable forms. Ranging from bags to bottles, and from containers to cups, the uses for plastic are widespread. As valuable and important as plastics may seem, based on how often we use them, they are often not thought of as such.
So how could it be that plastics have turned out to be so broadly used? How did plastics turn into the choice for such a large number of uses? The simple answer is that plastics are the material that can provide the things consumers want and need. The worldwide production of plastics has shown a significant growth of almost 30 times in the last 30 years. Plastics have contributed immensely in improving the quality of life.
Decades ago, it was a miraculous new product; currently, it is convenient yet problematic, centuries from now, it will continue to break down and destroy the earth. The invention of plastic revolutionized the functionality of everyday lives due to its versatility, cheapness, and durability. People make use of over 100 million tons of plastic each year; from it, less than five percent gets recycled (Kiener 1). The remaining percent not recycled or incinerated accumulates in landfills, bodies of water, and almost everywhere else in nature. Although economically successful, plastic presents a multitude of problems towards the environment.
The problems caused by the plastic bags still ongoing for several decades. Kevin Wehr (2010) observes that “Environment groups estimate that between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year.” (p. 352). Therefore, many countries have tried to solve this problem by making an effort to campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags. Each country has a different approach to it, for example, promoting the use of cloth bags in Thailand, collecting taxes on plastic bags in Ireland and banning the use of plastic bags categorically in Bangladesh. Geof Knight’s point is that “Larger economies have joined the cause.
Due to the negative effects caused from plastic it will always play a role in our environment. One hundred different chemicals have been created after the 1950s to the current day. Something people do not realize is that throwing a plastic wrapper on the ground will end up in a birds stomach, burning plastic in a fire will end up in the air we breathe, and recycling plastic will end up back in our homes. The author states, “I don’t even shop anymore. Anything I need will just float
Because of their relatively low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, and impenetrability to water, plastics are utilized as a part of a huge and extending scope of items from paper clips to spaceships. They have already displaced many traditional materials, such as wood, stone, leather, paper, metal, glass, and ceramic, in the vast majority of their former uses. In developed countries, around 33% of plastic is utilized as a part of packaging and 67% of plastic in buildings for e.g. piping used in plumbing or vinyl siding. Other uses include automobiles (up to 20% plastic), furniture, and toys.
Also huge plastic islands are a result of plastics being transported then converged in the ocean where currents meet. There are about 580,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer in the Atlantic. 20%of trash comes from ships and platforms and the rest of litter is from it being blown into the sea, picked up by tides and initial garbage dumping. Plastics don’t biodegrade which means they break into tiny pieces and get eaten by sea animals. Plastic has killed 100,000 sea turtles and birds a year from getting tangled and indigestion.
CHAPTER 8 LIMITATIONS 8.1 Limitations of Plastics Recycling: Plastics are much more complicated to recycle than other materials like paper, metal, and glass, in large part because of the many thousands of different types of plastics on the market. If plastic recycling is to work, makers must be ready to accept the material to make new products. For many years, communities and recyclers have struggled to create recycling programs for plastics with little success because of some issues which are discussed below. 8.1.1 Extensive Sorting is Required: Plastics are complex chemical compounds with thousands of different varieties. To