I recently had the pleasure of talking to a group of first graders about plastic pollution and how all of us living in So. Nevada can lessen its impact on our environment.
This was part of a series or presentation, Red Rock Audubon is doing wth the Winchester Culural Center called the Winchester Nesters.
As you can see from the photo, I took a quote for Mahatma Gandhi – “Be the change that you want to see in the world”. That was the message I want to convey to these young students. That, if we want to put an end to the rampant plastic problem that plagues your community and others around the world, It will be up to us, as individuals to do our part.
I think the answer lies in how we use plastic in our daily lives (we seem to have an addiction to the stuff). What are the things we could replace with a more eco-friendly material or better yet, what are the things we could do without? And (this is a biggie), how do we convince the folks that are producing plastic that we don’t want or need it anymore.
The answer to the second question is easy. When we stop consuming plastic, they will stop producing it. It’s that simple. The answer to the second question is a little more complex.
How do we end our addiction to plastic? Especially the single-use plastic like packaging wrappers, straws, drink lids, and grocery bags.
Well, you start by eliminating all the things you have control of first. Like grocery bags. Just take a look around your neighborhood, especially on trash day. Bet you’ll see more than one floating around, right? How about replacing them with reusable bags.
You can buy plastic reusables for $.99 but I would recommend spending a couple of bucks more and getting some made out of a sustainable material like hemp. Even though plastic bags can be used for several years, they will eventually end up in the environment.
Same thing with food storage bags and wrap. There are lots of new products as well as some old solutions on the market. Especially now that people are becoming more aware of the problem. I would suggest you do a Google search for “non-plastic food storage”. Here are a few ideas. 15 Amazing Food Storage Containers That Aren’t Plastic Wrap
I have recently switched to non-plastic items like bamboo toothbrushes and shampoo in bar form instead of a plastic bottle. I also stopped shaving with the throw-a-way plastic razors for switched to the old fashion double edge safety razor.
When we go out for a meal, I don’t use a straw and ask the waiter not to leave me one but my wife likes to use one so she brings her reusable straw. We also started bringing our food containers for leftovers so we don’t take the styrofoam. These are just a few things you can do to make a difference.
Are these things inconvenient? Perhaps at first. I found the hardest part was remembering to bring me a container and refusing the straws but like most things, it became a habit.
Will me, making these few changes make a huge difference? Not hardly. But what if 25% of everyone living in our town makes a few changes. Now we have some impact. What if it were 50% or 75%? Now if we cleaned up the mess do you think it would stay clean? I think so!
Now here’s the beauty of reducing our plastics use. As we stop using throwaway plastic and start using and asking for alternative products, businesses will startup to fill that niche. Manufacturers, suppliers, etc. will be forced to change or go out of business.
Will it be easy? Hardly! But that’s why It’s important to speak to 1st graders. In a few years, they will be making these consumer decisions and I hope that in the next twenty or thirty years, plastic pollution will be a thing of the past.
If you have an idea or comment on how we can reduce plastic in our world, I would encouge you to add a comment below. ~ Paul Rodriguez