As a species, we produce nearly 190 million tons (190,000,000) each year in single-use plastics. Single-use plastics, items that are created for a one-time use, such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, etc. are incredibly damaging to the environment. Read more below.
Plastic bags have an average use time of 12 minutes.
Plastic straws? 20 minutes.
How long does these items stay on the planet? 200 years.
8 billion (8,000,000,000) plastic bags end up in the environment in the USA each year.
Americans use 175 million (175,000,000) straws daily, almost enough to circle the globe.
These single-use plastics end up in the environment, (streams, animal habitats, etc.) or sit in landfills.
Barriers to success:
In 2015, a Missouri law made it impossible for local communities to regulate, tax, or ban single-use plastic bags. This law encourages companies to continue producing and using these bags, contributing to thousands of animal deaths, pollution, and damage to our environment.
Additionally, lack of public knowledge over the benefits of paper over plastic leave many Missourians unaware of why they should care, or why they should use the paper or metal straws versus plastic ones. We must work together to combat these barriers for the future of our planet.
Hope for the future:
Some companies have begun phasing out plastic shopping bags, Aldi for example, is taking internal steps to combat the environmental disaster. Other companies, such as Starbucks, have begun implementing paper straws only around the country. The Saint Louis Zoo, for example, requires individuals to ask for straws, instead of automatically giving them. While these policies are a step in the right direction, we have to do more to protect our environment.
What you can do to help:
Share this post, and other information, with your friends, family, and neighbors. (Community education is the first step).
Take steps in your own life to find ways to reduce your, your family's, and your community's single-use plastic consumption.
Call upon your legislators to overturn the 2015 ban on local regulation of single-use plastics.
Encourage local leaders to begin plans to ban, tax, or otherwise regulate single-use plastics to reduce their use in our county, state, and country.
Elect officials who stand behind these policies, and who will work to create a more sustainable, less plastic-filled future for Missouri.