Plastic, a Major Polluter: How You Can Take Action

Written by Guest Blogger
    Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Plastic, a Major Polluter: How You Can Take Action

The world is at a tipping point with plastic pollution. Several countries are stepping up to make drastic changes and to ban single-use plastic in the wake of political and public pressure to wean us off this toxic convenience product. The United States is lagging behind, though many people are becoming aware of the problem and some states are looking at regulating plastics. The problems are our current approaches to tackling plastic pollution focus on small-impact solutions, which are well-intentioned and personally educative but are being quickly absorbed and morphed by the growth of global plastics production.

The USA is one of the largest consumers of single-use plastic on the planet, generating 5.25 lbs of plastic waste per week per person. Packaging accounts for over 40% of all plastic production, which is typically all single-use, and production is expanding with over 300 new plastics factories being built in America right now. Most plastic can be recycled only a few times and some plastics are never recycled (styrofoam being significant). This means most plastic eventually ends up in landfills, incineration, or in our waterways and lakes.

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Local actions you can take:

  • If you receive plastic from manufacturers that is unacceptable - take a picture, Instagram with #plasticfreemke, the manufacturer’s name and call them to complain
  • Call the Mayor’s office, let them know we want a ban on styrofoam
  • Call your local Alderman, demand a proclamation about single-use plastic
  • Send letters to grocery stores, tell them to stop using unrecyclable plastics in their products
  • Join a Boomerang Bag group or make your own shopping bags and produce bags, give them to friends and get your community involved
  • Write letters to your local newspaper
  • Leave information cards at grocery stores and restaurants about their plastic use, even better speak with the manager.
  • Support local environmental groups and organizations working to stop plastic pollution at its source

Want to learn more? Come to the Urban Ecology Center  on Monday June 3rd at 6pm where you will learn from professor Norm Laska how plastic, the cheap, durable, throw away product, causes havoc with our environment and find their way into the Great Lakes. 

Professor Norm Laska is a geologist, plastics researcher, and professional presenter and will be speaking on how plastic is disrupting our ecosystems and threatening our food chains.


Blog written by Hannah Glasson and Mary Lou Lamonda, co-founders and organizers of Plastic Free MKE



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