My summer internship assignment with Green Newton was to inform people that plastic pollution isn’t only harmful, it’s deadly! Not only do plastics wind up in our beautiful oceans where they harm fish that mistake plastic for food, they ultimately contaminate our food chain. Over five trillion plastic pieces are in our oceans, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, by weight, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. What’s more, birds often mistake plastic for their food, which can result in their demise.
At Green Newton’s Farmers Market booth, we surveyed 80 people to find out how Newton residents use plastic. This is what we learned:
- 60% do not use plastic bottles.
- 52.5% recycle plastic bags in stores.
- 60% always use reusable containers instead of plastic wrap for food.
Clearly, we can do more to increase our use of plastic alternatives to benefit our environment, especially since it takes 450 years for an average plastic bottle to disintegrate! Visit: www.greennewton.org for the full survey.
Here are six important tips to help cut the plastic habit:
- Bring reusable bags to all stores, including supermarkets, CVS and Walgreens.
- Use reusable glass or metal containers instead of plastic. • Use a reusable thermos instead of polystyrene and paper cups for hot drinks.
- Use reusable alternatives, such as glass or Bee’s Wrap instead of plastic wrap
- Buy products in bulk and/or refillable containers. • Avoid buying beauty and fabric items with microbeads – those tiny plastic pollutants slip through water treatment systems, end up in waterways, and pass into the tissues of marine animals.
by Rachel Gamburg, GN Summer Intern
http://ecologycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/eliminate-plastic.pdf https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/how-freeze-food-without-plastic.html https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf
If you have a student grades 6-12 interested in joining Students for a Greener World please contact Margaret Ford at [email protected].