I’ve decided that the reason we don’t care how much we throw out is twofold. 1) It doesn’t cost us anything–upfront, at least– and 2) We don’t actually see it. We just put it in the trash or recycling bin and then it’s taken away forever.
Except that it doesn’t really go away. The recovery rate for plastic recycling is still dishearteningly small. Most of it goes to the landfill, where it takes hundreds of years to break down, and a lot of it ends up in the ocean.
More plastic is produced than ever before, and we’re running out of places to throw it away. It’s clogging our waterways and even ending up in the food chain–fish eat it when it breaks down into smaller pieces, and then we eat the fish.
This is a situation that clearly needs regulating. Otherwise, companies will continue to produce massive amounts of plastic because it’s convenient and cheap. These companies are not forced to pay for the cost that plastic is imposing on society.
Want to know just how much plastic we’re throwing out? I saved all my plastic waste for a week to get an idea.
That’s for just a single person, one week. And I’m someone who at least attempts to buy products that use less packaging. Sorry, kids–the pile on the right will be around for you and your children to deal with.