Plastic, while convenient, is costing our economy a lot.
Our current culture is inundated with exposable materialistic stuff, fast fashion and a disposable culture. While convenient and seemingly cheap, it actually creates waste and a burden on our overall system.
WHILE PLASTIC IS CHEAP ON THE FACE VALUE, IT IS NOT.
New York Times Best Seller of The Long Tail and Wired Editor Chris Anderson points out in his book Free: The Future of Radical Price that the result of plastic was the birth of disposable culture.
The Idea of “Disposable Culture”
In 1960s, brightly colored disposable goods represented modernity, the triumph of industrial technology over material scarcity. Throwing away manufactured goods was not wasteful; it was the privilege of an advanced civilization.
After the 1970s, attitudes toward this superabundance began to change. The environmental cost of a disposable consumer culture became more obvious. Plastic may have seemed close to free, but that’s only because we weren’t pricing it properly. Include the environmental costs — the “negative externalities” — and maybe it doesn’t feel as right to toss out that McDonald’s Happy Meal toy after one play. A generation started recycling. Our attitudes toward abundant resources moved from personal psychology (“it’s free to me”) to collective psychology (“it’s not free to us”).
— excerpts from Free: The Future of Radical Price
Some quick facts courtesy of Greenfeet.net
- Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every HOUR.
- Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures every year.
- Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
- A United States law, implementing an international agreement called MARPOL Annex V, became effective on December 31, 1988. It prohibits the disposal of plastics into the marine environment and requires ports to provide reception facilities for ship-generated plastic waste.
- Today, Americans generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste a year but recycle only 1 or 2 % of it.
- An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, much of it plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.
- The worldwide fishing industry dumps an estimated 150,000 tons of plastic into the ocean each year, including packaging, plastic nets, lines, and buoys.
- About 1,200 plastic soft drink and salad dressing containers could carpet the average living room.
- It takes 1,050 HDPE (#2) milk jugs to make a six-foot plastic lumber park bench.
- Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
- Nearly every piece of plastic EVER made still exists today.
- Plastic Facts from the 3R Program at Northern Illinois University
- Different types of plastic by Life Without Plastic
- Consumption Facts by ReusableBags.com
- Plastic 101 by Earth911.com
- Saving the Planet One Lightbulb, Grocery Bag and Ice Cream Cone at a Time by O Magazine/ Oprah.com
- Greenwash of the Week: Biodegradable Plastic Water Bottles by TheGoodHuman.com
- Breaking Down Is Hard to Do: How biodegradable is biodegradable plastic? by Slate.com
- A collection of plastic related news articles by Digital Journal
- Plastic Bag Recycling Doom: Environmentalist
- Birds, Boats Threaten by the Pacific’s Great Garbage Patch
- Hope floats on eco-celebrity’s recycled plastic boat, Plastiki
- Chemical in plastic bottles linked to impotence
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