Dear America: Stop Using Plastics

Plastic has been a problem for decades, it’s time to take action.


Nicholas Culross, Staff Writer

Dear America: Stop Using Plastics

Plastics, although convenient, are a main driving force in the destruction of our planet. As I researched the topic more, however, I realized the issue is much worse than I previously thought.

Since as early as the 1960’s, people have known the dangers and consequences of using plastics. Despite this information, we’ve gone from producing 1.8 million tons to producing more than 8.3 billion tons. This number will only exponentially increase

Right before our eyes, our planet is being drained of its life just because of the use of a simple, everyday item. Although there are negatives to the production of this non renewable resource, like global warming, the problem lies somewhere else. As many of us already know, pollution in the past century or so and gone through the roof, and it may be too late to fix it. 

Recycling and burning plastics, although not great for the environment, are the only real way we have to get rid of them. Despite this, only about 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, and only around 12% has been incinerated. This means that 79% out of the 8.3 billion tons of plastic we’ve produced has ended up in either landfills, dumps, or our environment. In fact, there are about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean alone.

Even though this information sounds bad, the trend will only continue to worsen if we don’t do anything. The future beholds some pretty scary things, as plastic production is only predicted to increase, regardless of all the information presented on why it’s bad. According to the American Chemistry Council, plastic production will increase by more than double by 2050; increasing from 308 million tons annually to about 756 million tons,

So what can we do to stop it? Although the future doesn’t seem so bright, it’s not too late to make a change. Even though it can’t be eliminated, plastic waste in the environment can be reduced with existing technologies. The only real way to stop the plastic crisis, however, is to stop making the plastic in the first place. The production and waste of plastic, as of now, is outpacing the world’s ability to collect the trash.

It seems as though there are only a few ways we can stop this crisis, or at least slow the problem down. First and most obvious, we need to start making a change on an individual basis. This means reusing and recycling as much as we can. It can be very convenient to dispose of plastics and not make use of them, but if we want to make a difference, these changes need to be made.

In reality, the only other main way we can prevent this crisis from furthering is by drastically reducing the production of single use plastics. These items are used in a day but can last in our environment for centuries. 

It will take global efforts on all fronts to tackle this plastic problem. Companies, producers, and consumers all need to do there part to reduce their contribution to the crisis, and although it will be tough, we can help restore our planet.