Reduce plastic use. This is a simple idea, and it is extremely important. We should not, or rather will not, be able to eliminate the use of plastic altogether. Still, to greatly reduce the amount of plastic now wasted, and detrimental to our quality of life, and to the natural world, is a wise decision which we should slowly integrate into our culture.
It will take time, but eventually plastic use should be reserved for medical, technological, and vital use where no other biodegradable substance can substitute.
Plastic containers are a “use once and put into the thousand year or more landfill” category, at present. This creates the harmful idea that nature’s abundance and our lives are cheap, disposable, and throwaway. Nature’s abundance, when viewed this way, is trashed and exploited, and our internal psyches come to believe the myth that nothing is of value, so why bother?
Plastic has been shown to not only be toxic and contain contaminants that hurt all living things, including human life. It’s everyday use is psychologically based on a false premise that it is cheap. It was cheap, but now it is only artificially cheap, because the true costs are not factored in to the long term equation. True costs are not seen, so we are not given the full story.
For humans, we are in trouble because we invented the idea of “wasting” resources. Our use of fuels, food, and energy does not reflect the true natural cost, because corporations have learned to externalize costs, (have consumers-YOU- pay for things such as disposal of run off, packaging, air quality, etc) even as they privatize profits. In addition to their production costs being externalized, most entities that produce are subsidized so the actual costs of manufacture, food production, harvest, and distribution, is never factored into real costs. If first world business had to foot the bill , for example for things like fuel, metal, meat, or minerals extraction, people would likely riot about costs of gas, food, and resources. That may still happen.
For political gain, we borrow heavily against Nature’s bounty, and now that there are nearly seven billion of us, nature is rapidly depleting. In nature for example, all tree leaves become insulation and compost. All dead things become food for living things in an endless, non-waste cycle. In our extraction for timber, fuel, minerals (often a fuel, such as coal,) metals, and more, we produce by products that nature did not intend.
Plastic is most insidious of these, which although easily broken down into almost microscopic bits, it still wreaks havoc on those organisms ingesting, or being leached onto by it. Our landfills leak and contaminate our air, food, soil, and water, as do our factories, farms, damning projects and more. The book, Death by Rubber Ducky is very instructive about this.
We have an obligation to realize that we should not accept the responsibility of having to deal with waste produced by manufacturers and passed onto us with the “recycle” symbol telling us it is our “trash,” Trash made by the manufacturer who profited from its sale is rarely a cost for that producer. In civilized nations, the manufacturer pays for the recycle process, which makes perfect sense. Imagine less packaging, junk mail, and less of your time spent sorting THEIR garbage. The same rule applies to our trashed air, water, and soil quality. When we press those who profit from its deterioration, and have them pay the costs of their pollution, we will suddenly see they are much more efficient.
Efficiency, no waste, as nature invented it, is a win/win for everyone. Even the richest fat cat CEO ballzillionaire with a private island needs clean air, water, and food.
The easiest way to begin to uncomplicated your life with “garbage” both mental and external, is to always identify waste, who profits from the waste, and who pays the cost of the waste.