Do you know why using a plastic cup is a big deal? As many of us, I didn’t know all details of the negative impact for our environment. One of the reasons why today I am writing this post. The true is that using a plastic cup that we use once and throw it, is causing a big damage to our planet.
This weekend, I had some friends coming over to share a birthday cake. As usual I went to the grocery store to buy some plastic cups and avoid the dishes, looking for convenience ;). After thinking twice , I recalled this video “It’s time to ditch the disposable plastics”. This video illustrate in less than 2 minutes the damage plastic is causing to the ecosystem. Then, I asked myself are there other options?, Do I really need plastic cups?
And the answer is YES , there are many other options. By keeping convenience in mind, I spent some time in the grocery to do some basic research. I found several disposable cups alternatives with new materials including biodegradable, compostable, paper among others (you can find a list here). Price is higher but if you read a little bit more, it is worth to try…
Why this is a big deal?
Our planet is drowning in plastic, it is everywhere. Scientists estimate that about eight million tons of plastic waste wound up in the world’s oceans in 2010. Researchers warn that the cumulative amount could increase more than tenfold in the next decade unless we improve our practices.
We use this plastic cup once and then throw it away. This is killing millions of marines every year and somehow getting back to through the food chain.
Let’s remind, the EMK items, Why is plastic harmful?
3 items to share and remind
- it never goes away
- it piles up in the environment
- It poisons our food chain and as consequence affecting human health.
Plastic never goes away. Plastic last forever, today 33% is used once and then thrown away. Remind plastic cannot biodegrade. It breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces but it last forever…Forever!!!
Disposed plastic materials can remain in the environment for up to 2,000 years and longer*
Plastic piles up in the environment. More than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tons afloat at sea.**
Plastic poisons our food chain. Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating micro plastics and absorbing their toxins. Most of this plastic goes to the oceans affecting not only sea turtles, whales, and seabirds but also animals at the base of the food web, including ‘seafood.’ The toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment will last forever …
Plastic affects human health. Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.
Some countries start to set the example and move to a new era of NOT PLASTIC CUPS. Take a moment to read this CNN article “France becomes first country to ban plastic cups and plates”. In France, one hundred and fifty single-use cups are thrown away every second. This means 4.73 billion per year, according to the French Association of Health and Environment, ASEF. Only 1% of them is recycled, largely because they are made of a mixture of polypropylene and polystyrene.
Yes sometimes, I am tired or just lazy to think twice about this. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have the extra energy to do the dishes and prefer to use a plastic cup.
Little efforts count, and you can start making small contributions today. The impact of 1 multiplied by billions is the only way to advance !
Let’s finish this article with Mother Theresa founder of the missionaries of charity and Nobel peace prize winner, 1979 quote:
“There are no such things as great deeds — only small ones done with great heart.”
Share and be sure we add other @EMK item to our list!
Other Sources and more information
* DiGregorio, Barry E. “Biobased Performance Bioplastic: Mirel,” Chemistry & Biology 2009.
**Eriksen, Marcus; Lebreton, Laurent C. M.; Carson, Henry S.; Thiel, Martin; Moore, Charles J.; Borerro, Jose C.; Galgani, Francois; Ryan, Peter G.; Reisser, Julia. “Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans,” PLoS One 10 Dec. 2014