Patience: Plastic Is Worse Than a Group of Mean Girls

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Drive down any road: the freeway, your neighborhood street or through the city, through the canyon. Some of the sights awaiting you include trees, flower beds, grass, bus stops, interesting statues — but all of this potential beauty is easily destroyed by scattered garbage, specifically plastic.

Our world is covered in so much plastic that there are videos of people learning how to build houses out of plastic water bottles. According to Time Magazine, there are at least five million metric tons of plastic in the ocean.

Plastic is harmful to animals. Certain sea animals often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and can choke and die. Fish, penguins and other bird species get plastic soda chains stuck on their limbs or necks and slowly choke or bleed to death.

Though plastic is an evil result of capitalism, there’s no question that plastic products are convenient, so luckily there are new, clean products of all kinds to replace them all.

Disposable plastic water bottles are not only wasteful but are also expensive. A pack of Ice Mountain bottled water from Walmart costs $3.44, not including tax. Assuming you buy one pack a week, that’s at least $165 a year.

According to various sources, it costs roughly 80 cents to make a plastic water bottle. There are usually 12 bottles in a pack, which means it costs $9.60 to make a single pack of disposable bottles, not including the plastic wrap that encases the whole pack.This is a simple problem to solve: we stop producing disposable plastic bottles and start using reusable water bottles.

And what do we do with the plastic bottles that have already been made and are just scattered across the earth? We follow the instructions from those YouTube videos and use these materials that take 200 years to decompose to build houses. That immediately saves money on construction and saves trees.

There’s also the edible water bottle, small plastic orbs that contain water you can pop in your mouth. There are tutorials on YouTube that show people how to make their own.

To replace plastic bags there are now biodegradable bags made of a cassava, a root vegetable.

The company that makes them is in Indonesia, and they made them in attempt to save the country from drowning in plastic. If corporations in America teamed up with this company, it would not only reduce plastic use but it would create a great relationship with another country.

Another alternative to plastic is reusable shopping bags, which you can buy anywhere. They’re stronger than plastic bags, so there’s no chance of your milk falling out and shattering on the pavement as you walk to your car.

For those that cook, there’s also now a replacement for plastic wrap, Bee’s wrap, aesthetically pleasing, reusable wraps. It costs at least $18 for a pack of three, but because they can be reused, it still saves money. There are different sizes for different uses and come in a variety of patterns.

These are just some of the many options the world has for replacing plastic. Any company in America can adopt these methods to create and sell environmentally friendly products.

The point is, it is possible to replace plastic. Plastic needs to be disposed of once and for all. Not only is it harmful to nearly every aspect of the environment, but it makes the world ugly.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

 

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