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The Need to Reduce Plastic

By Larraine Roulston :

If you love eating fish, you’ll be distressed to learn that researchers from Belgium’s University of Ghent recently revealed that every year seafood eaters ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic. The scientists claim that, over time, micro-plastics that become embedded and accumulate in the body’s tissues could possibly pose a long-term health risk. Lead researcher Dr. Colin Janssen wonders if toxic chemicals will eventually be leaching out into parts of our bodies. He states, “We don’t know and actually we do need to know.” This information would benefit the politicians studying the growing costs of health care.

Hard plastic in durable products is useful; however, it is the continual use of disposable plastic and micro-beads in personal care creams that are the major culprit destroying the very life of the soil, oceans and lakes that support us.

Tips to Reduce:

  • Take your own reusable bags for all shopping excursions. This month, the New York Daily News reported that the mayor and City Council stepped up and passed a Bring Your Own Bag Law that put into effect a 5-cent fee for New Yorkers needing a bag. This concept works well in other large U.S. cities like Chicago as well as other places around the world. Sadly — and this is unbelievable — the state senate passed a law to kill the 5-cent fee!
  • Remember to request your beverages, whether from restaurant servers or party hosts, without a straw.
  • Disposable paper coffee cups lined with polyethylene, which is a plastic resin, are usually not acceptable in most recycling programs or at composting facilities. Generally, the lid and any plastic stir sticks are also tossed into street garbage bins. Take a thermos, a stainless steel coffee cup or even a mason jar on your travels.
  • If you opt for fast food breakfasts or lunches en route to work, include your own cutlery and reusable container, which would also eliminate toxic food wrappers! It’s a good time to say goodbye to plastic water bottles.
  • My local independent bulk food store encourages customers to refill their own reusable glass jars by offering a small discount. Recently, the Bulk Barn chain in Canada announced that, beginning February 24th, it will now allow reusable containers. This will lessen their providing light plastic film bags and plastic tubs. It’s also more convenient to store foods in glass jars.
  • Disposable diapers, with their plastic outer lining, are another source of pollution. Why use disposables when diapering a baby in cloth is a healthier option, and relatively convenient with the aid of an automatic washing machine?
  • As well, choose eco-friendly pads and tampons.
  • In our world of growing technology, electronics is another area where plastic is being carelessly discarded. Before ditching a cell phone or computer, for example, try repairing it first. If that is not an option,be sure to discard it at an e-waste facility.
  • Investigate the alternatives to plastic potato mashers and other large kitchen utensils, toothbrushes and toys.
  • By reducing our dependence on petroleum-based plastic, we can save the environment from its hazardous accumulation. Vote with your power of purchase.

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Larraine authors a children’s book series on composting and pollinating at www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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