Banning Harmful Plastics

By now, you’ve likely heard or read reports of the problems created by many plastics. While plastic has been helpful in many ways – and there are many different types of plastic – the material has also been causing enormous problems in many parts od the world.

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Canada plans to ban ‘harmful’ single-use plastics by 2021

 

Ben Westcott

CNN

June 11, 2019

 

 

 

(CNN)Canada will ban many single-use plastic items by 2021, including bags, straws, cutlery and stirring sticks, to cut harmful waste damaging the country’s ecosystems.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the measures Monday, describing “a problem we simply can’t ignore.” The Canadian leader said in a statement …

 

“Plastic waste ends up in our landfills

and incinerators, litters our parks and

beaches, and pollutes our rivers, lakes,

and oceans, entangling and killing

turtles, fish, and marine mammals.”

 

Less than 10 per cent of plastic used in Canada gets recycled. Without a change in course, Canadians will throw away an estimated $11 billion worth of plastic materials each year by 2030

According to the Canadian government, every year 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals worldwide are injured or die when they mistake plastic for food.

Globally, a truckload of plastic waste enters the ocean every minute, the statement said.

It comes after the European Parliament passed a similar ban on single-use plastic items in late March, including a target to recycle 90% of plastic beverage bottles by 2029.

In May, the United Kingdom followed suit with a plastic ban by 2020. Officials estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws and 316 million plastic stirrers are used in England every year.

A report by the European Commission found that 80% of litter in the world’s oceans is plastic, due to its slow decomposition. Plastic has been found inside marine animals including sea turtles, seals, whales and birds.

In April, a carcass of a pregnant sperm whale washed up in Italy with 22 kilograms (49 pounds) of plastic in its stomach.

Trudeau said his government will work with companies that use or create plastic products to set targets on waste. Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna said it is time to act. She said …

 

“We’ve all seen the disturbing images

of fish, sea turtles, whales, and other

wildlife being injured or dying because

of plastic garbage in our oceans.”

 

Despite the goodwill from countries like Canada and the UK, serious questions remain over how the mass of plastic used daily around the world will be recycled properly.

Following a decision by China to ban plastic waste imports for recycling in 2018, a ripple spread across the global supply chain as Western nations looked for options.

Both Malaysia and the Philippines have announced they will be returning hundreds of tons of contaminated plastic waste to their countries of origin, including Canada, with Malaysia saying it refuses to become the world’s garbage dump. 

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First recommendation: Find a place that is recycling single-use plastics.  Places doing this include schools, churches and temples, and some communities that have created a recycling center.

It’s going to Trex, a company that reuses single use plastic to make strong, long lasting planks for outdoor use, such as porches, decks, or docks.

These planks are also used for making outdoor benches, as you’d see in parks or schools or playgrounds.  When you donate a certain amount of these single-use plastics, such as:

  • sleeves in which newspapers are often delivered,
  • bread bags,
  • cereal liners,
  • ice bags,
  • produce bags,
  • dry cleaning bags,
  • grocery bags,
  • packaging air pillows,
  • case over-wraps

… to the above types of organizations, when those organizations accumulate 500 pounds of these plastic with a six month period, they receive, from Trex, a free park bench. It’s a win-win outcome.

In addition …

If your supermarket uses plastic bags, you can return those bags to that store and most grocery stores will have that plastic recycled.

Also, when going to the supermarket, you can bring your own reusable bags –– in which you can put grapes, green beans, apples and other loose produce.It sounds as though many countries’ governments, though not the U.S., are making concerted efforts to eliminate the problems that the single use plastics have created. However, much of the solution to this problem will rest with each of us, individually.

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