What can each of us do to reduce plastic pollution?
Full-length article and recording
Managing Plastic Waste and Mitigating the Garbage Patches
Thanks to the Earth Engineering Center for making this knowledge sharing possible
Katrina Mitchell (Co-founder, be Waste Wise)
What can each one of us do about plastic pollution in the seas and on land?
Beth Terry (Plastic Free book): Back in 2007, after reading an article about plastic pollution in the ocean and Charles Moore and Algalita, I decided to see what it would feel like, to stop acquiring any new plastic and to live plastic-free. I wasn’t going to throw away all the plastic that I already have, but I was going to try not to buy anymore. That was my initial step to reduce plastic in my own life. Originally, I thought all the plastic that I did end up using should be recyclable but as I’ve learned more and more about plastic recycling, I’ve discovered that it shouldn’t be the number one step or solution. Recycling has its own drawbacks. I think we are going to talk a little bit about that later.
So, reducing my own personal plastic was the first step. I very quickly started to realize that it was not enough. I was reducing my plastic and taking my own bag but, I see everybody taking a new plastic bag at the store! While I would be religiously bringing my reusable water bottle with me, I go out and see people buying bottled water and going to the coffee place to get their ice coffee in plastic cups. They are even buying paper cups in plastic. It became a little overwhelming and I realized that we need to change on a systematic level. So, I started getting involved with plastic bag campaigns and other types of actions and even started my own campaign.
But the point is that, I never probably would have gotten involved in those bigger actions, if I hadn’t started with myself and seen how much I could do, and realized that we needed to do more. Some people get involved in political actions and campaigns right away. But for me it always took starting with myself, doing as much as I possibly could, getting a little overwhelmed and realizing that it wasn’t enough and I had to go further. There are things everybody can do.
Book: Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too (buying options)
Websites: Plastic Pollution Coalition;