Why Reduce Plastic?

It's no secret that I'm just a little bit of an environmentalist hippie. The other day, a family member asked me, "Why reduce your plastic usage?" Reducing my plastic consumption is something I am highly motivated to do, and here are a few reasons why:

~ It's healthier. Plastics have chemicals in them that are known endocrine disruptors, which have been linked to cancer, obesity, and hormonal problems. The recent unpopularity of BPA (a type of plastic) is due to the fact that we now know that it has endocrine disruptors, and BPA is found in a LOT of food-related items, such as plasticware, tin can linings, and jar lids. It is particularly problematic when plastic is used to store oily foods like meats or sauces, because those types of food are a perfect medium for plastic chemicals to leach into.

~Recycling is not a great solution. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't recycle. You absolutely should! However, recycling is not a great solution because most recycling is downcycling. A plastic water bottle is not recycled into another plastic water bottle. Oftentimes, it is recycled into a lower-grade product, which is then downcycled even more, until it is eventually not suitable to be recycled anymore. Every time a piece of plastic is created, it all ends the exact same way: sitting in (hopefully) a landfill  for the next several hundred years or more. The best solution is to just not buy plastic at all.

~It's good stewardship. I'm sure that everybody has heard about the problems with trash in the wild, or about the massive Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's a fact that many species, particularly sea turtles and waterfowl, are declining because they mistake plastic bags in the water for fish or jellyfish, and then eat them or feed them to their young. Animals are regularly found dead, stuffed to the gills with plastic. Here's a picture of an albatross chick carcass filled with plastic water bottle caps and other plastic debris (warning: graphic).

I have run in conservative Christian circles for most of my life, and it astounds me how Christians can say with a straight face, "The earth is the Lord's; and everything in it!" and at the same time have absolutely no problem with trashing said earth. God calls us to be good stewards of everything He's given us; He has given us dominion over the earth, but not a free license to waste it away. It really ticks me off that many conservatives refuse to be environmentally conscious because that has traditionally been an issue championed by liberals. Folks, taking care of our children's future world should not be a partisan issue, and people who wantonly create waste just to stick it to the liberals are being irresponsible and petty.

I have also encountered the mindset that it's okay to let the world burn because Jesus is coming back any day now. But who's to say He won't wait another 2,000 years to return? And even if He came back tomorrow, wouldn't all Christians have to account for how they have taken care of His earth?

Those are my top three reasons to reduce plastic. Wondering where to start? In all my research on plastics, the #1 action recommended by experts is to stop using plastic grocery bags. That is the most prolific and harmful type of plastic waste, so getting rid of them would be a great start! I'm not in favor of governmental plastic bag legislation, but I would absolutely love it if stores voluntarily enacted plastic bag bans or charged a fee for plastic bag usage. Either way, once you get into the habit of using reusable grocery bags, it is easy to get hooked. They are way stronger than plastic, so you'll never have to worry about bags ripping or having to double-bag. There are gazillion different designs to buy (or make at home!) and so many of them have cute designs.

Anyways, Adam is asking me to end my rant so that the computer will stop smoking, so I'm going to end it here. Maybe later I'll add some plastic-free living resources for everyone to check out if you're interested!

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