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This Earth Day Reduce Your Plastic Use

I'm posting a day early this week because today is Earth Day. This year's theme, Planet vs. Plastics, is focused on demanding a 60% reduction of plastic production by 2040. To achieve this reduction, EARTHDAY.ORG’s stated goals on their website are:

  1. Promoting widespread public awareness of the damage done by plastic to human, animal, and all biodiversity’s health and demanding more research be conducted on its health implications, including the release of any and all information regarding its effects to the public;

  2. Rapidly phasing out all single-use plastics by 2030 and achieving this phase-out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024;

  3. Demanding policies ending the scourge of fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses; and

  4. Investing in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world.

Watch's 2024 theme video by clicking here. 

Did you know that more plastic has been produced in the last ten years than in the entire 20th century? More than 500 billion plastic bags were produced worldwide last year. In the United States, 100 billion plastic beverage containers were sold last year (that's more than 300 bottles per inhabitant). What's even worse is that making a plastic water bottle requires six times as much water as the bottle itself contains.

Sadly, 95% of all plastics in the US won’t be recycled at all. Even the 5% of plastics being recycled are “downcycling” to inferior products or shipped to poorer countries for recycling. At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and 79% of plastic that has ever been made still sits in landfills or the natural environment. 

Another astonishing statistic is that of the over 100 billion garments produced annually by the fast fashion industry, approximately 85% of garments end up in landfills or incinerators, with only 1% being recycled. People now buy 60% more clothing than 15 years ago, but each item is kept for only half as long.

Every day we’re faced with hundreds of decisions, big and small. Without even realizing it, those choices can affect the environment, the climate, and other species. Simple lifestyle shifts, that can be adopted over time, can lead to a more sustainable future. 

This Earth Day, test your knowledge of plastic pollution with this quiz. Then make a personal commitment to reduce your plastic use. Whether it's carrying a water bottle with you so you don't have to purchase single-use water bottles, using reusable bags at the store, buying locally to cut down on packaging used in shipping, or avoiding fast fashion, you can make a difference. You may think "I'm just one person," however, if each of us takes steps to live more sustainably, collectively we will make a difference.

We can all care more and do better. The more of us who make sustainable choices, the more impactful the results.

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