No Plastic Day – June 8, 2010

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plastic bottles

Plastics are an extremely useful class of materials. Couple that with the fact that we live in a “disposable” age, and our practice of overusing, and then discarding, plastics in wasteful ways comes at a high price.

As we have pointed out earlier, the consumption, and disposal, of plastic is a major, and growing, environmental issue. Up to a trillion plastic shopping bags are made every year, most of which wind up in landfill or blowing across our parks and oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is largely composed of plastic as well, several million tons of it. Plastics do not decompose, at least not in a useful sense, rather they degrade into smaller and smaller bits of plastic, which eventually enter the food chain as they are accidentally eaten by marine organisms.

No Plastic Day is a day when we can put the brake on this consumptive behaviour, if only just for a little while. Here are some things you can do to mark this date.

  • Refuse plastic bags – If you buy something from a store on No Plastic Day, bring your own bags. If you don’t have any cloth or paper bags, just reuse the plastic bags you already have. They’ll never biodegrade so you might as well reuse them if you already have them.
  • Refuse plastic bottles – Drink water from the tap or buy drinks in aluminum cans or glass bottles if you must.
  • Limit your garbage – Almost everything you throw away is made of plastic. By limiting the amount garbage you create, you will reduce your plastic waste as well.
  • Before tossing your plastics, check for recycling symbols. Most of the plastics that end up in the garbage are recyclable.
  • Be creative – Everyone’s situation is different and you will need to customize your own situation for No Plastic Day. Be creative. Reuse, recycle, and reduce your waste. Consider it a personal experiment to find ways you can create less garbage and try to use little or no disposable plastics.

Moving forward, it’s a good idea to keep the ideas of No Plastics Day alive for the other 364 days in the year. We can all use a little less trash in our lives.