More and more, it seems like plastic is at the forefront of many conversations in today’s society. With over 300 million tons of plastic waste produced each year, it’s important to create ways to limit its use.
Considering that plastic was all we knew when it came to shopping and storing goods, it’s an immense development in the fight to create a sustainable future. Although we still have far to go, many states have targeted plastic and created legislation to limit its use.
However, there are still some states who have yet to adopt sustainable practices. This article will look at some of the legislation passed by states regarding single-use plastic bans and how we can do our part against plastic pollution. Continue reading to learn more.
Preemptive Plastic Laws
Most states want to clean up their plastic use because it’s affecting their cities and, subsequently, the environment. However, some laws prevent 18 states from passing legislation that can ban plastic bag use.
The reason these laws have been passed has nothing to do with the impacts plastic will have on the environment but on the pockets of those involved in the plastic industry. Without consumers using plastic for their goods, someone is bound to lose money.
As a result of legislators’ stranglehold on states, progressive thinking cities have a more challenging time dealing with their plastic pollution. However, smaller initiatives can still take place.
States Targeting Plastic
Currently, eight states have banned single-use plastic bags: They are:
- New York
California was the first of these eight states to pan single-use plastic bags in 2014, but the bill had to go through significant loopholes to get passed. In Hawaii, there’s no “official” law banning plastic bags statewide, but each state has its own plastic bag restrictions. Also, last year in New York, single-use plastic bag use was prohibited in grocery stores and retailers.
In some other states like Delaware and Connecticut, various restrictions like taxes were imposed to reduce the use of plastic bags. As a result, they raised money to help fund other programs.
Related: What is PLA?
Are Bans Working?
Yes, plastic bans are working. According to a recent study, there was over a 70% reduction in plastic bag usage in California. It has also led to the ban of other plastic products such as:
Since the U.S. produces the most plastic by any country globally, it’s great to see some states implementing single-use plastic bans. Although some people may have difficulty accepting the changes, they positively impact the states, their citizens, and the environment.
Other Ways To End Plastic Pollution
Although bans can help curb plastic pollution, ultimately, it’s up to us to do our parts in making the world a more sustainable place. So here are a few things you can do to help with plastic pollution.
Recycling has always been important in keeping our wastes somewhat organized. But even though plastic is technically recyclable, it shouldn’t be thrown away with other items.
When plastic breaks down, it becomes microplastic which can be severely harmful to animals. They also interrupt processes at recycling plants because they can become tangled in the machinery.
Ensure you properly dispose of plastic bags in a designated drop-off area in your local town or city.
Stop Buying Bottled Water
When you’re out on a hot day, at some point, you start looking for something to quench your thirst. So what do most people do? They buy bottled water, which is housed in plastic.
Depending on the individual, there’s a 50% chance that the bottle will end up getting recycled or becoming pollution. To avoid buying bottled water, invest in a reusable water bottle. That way, you can limit the amount of plastic pollution you contribute to.
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Encourage Others To Do a Beach Cleanup
Unfortunately, about 8% of the world’s plastic ends up in the oceans. As a result, most of the trash ends up on beaches, leaving them looking unpleasant.
If you want to make a change, you can organize or participate in a beach cleanup and encourage others to join. You don’t need any unique materials; all you have to do is find the nearest polluted beach and start cleaning it up. It’s the most direct way to help tackle plastic pollution.
Microbeads are tiny plastic particles that have become more of a nuisance over the years. You can usually find them in toothpaste, face scrubs, and body washes.
Due to our use of these products, they can quickly enter our sewage systems and affect our marine life. So when you’re shopping, keep an eye out for products with “polyethylene” or “polypropylene” on the label.
Related: The Benefits of Composting at Home
Plastic Use Is Hindering Society
As we can see, several states believe that plastic is doing more harm than good, which is why their bans have been effective. However, with other states enacting preemptive bills to block plastic bans, it will still be some time before plastic use is curbed in society.
Plastic causes significant pollution and affects wildlife, so why wouldn’t we stop its use? That’s why at PlantSwitch, our products are landfill biodegradable and don’t have any special disposal instructions like plastic bags.
We have the choice to make the Earth a better place to live. But that will only begin once we’re all focused on eliminating plastic pollution.
Why don’t you contact PlantSwitch today to learn more about our products and sustainable processes? The Earth will be sure to thank you!
What is Single-Use Plastic?
Single-use plastic products are those constructed of plastic intended to be used once or for a short period before being discarded.
Cellulose, natural gas, or crude oil can all be used to make single-use plastics.
Some plastic goods may be biodegradable depending on the composition and treatment methods. Hemp plastic is a great example of a biodegradable composition that does not damage the environment.
Some examples of single-use plastic products:
- Single-use plastic cups
- Single-use plastic straws
- Single-use plastic utensils
- Single-use plastic shopping bags
Even though single-use plastic products offer the advantages of being cost-effective and convenient, it is evident that they pose harm to the environment.
As a result, numerous states, counties, and municipalities enact single-use plastic product regulations in the United States.
Why Are Certain Single-Use Plastic Products Regulated?
Single-use plastic items, such as plastic shopping bags and disposable styrofoam utensils, are inexpensive to manufacture and have found widespread application in various industries.
As a result, the consumption of single-use plastic products in the United States has skyrocketed.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States produced more than 25,550,000 tons of plastic in 2000, which climbed to 35,680,000 tons in 2018.
Furthermore, the use of plastic bags and styrofoam utensils has exacerbated the ecosystem balance of the land and marine environment in various ways, posing severe challenges to the economy’s long-term viability.
Chemical pollution of the ground, water, and air during the manufacturing, consumption and disposal of these items, animal incidents, poisoning from ingesting plastics, clogging and jamming of urban tubing systems, are just a few of the examples why single use plastic needs to be regulated.
What Can You Do To Help?
Be A Conscious Consumer
Take a moment to consider what you’re doing. Ask the following questions to understand better if what you are trying to buy is necessary.
- How long am I going to utilize this item?
- Will it stay in the landfill for a long time?
- Do I truly require this item?
- Is there a healthier alternative?
- Will it impact the environment?
Keep in mind that certain things are designed to be used only once, like napkins. Medical equipment, for example, may be designed to be single-use for safety concerns.
The main idea is to consider the item’s intended use and meditate on the possible consequences and how you can avoid them.
Use Reusable Products
Bring your own takeaway containers, reusable coffee cups, and cutlery set with you wherever you go to avoid being caught off guard.
Keeping a set in your car or at work is also good.
If you don’t have a choice and must use a single-use item, such as cutlery or chopsticks, keep it and reuse it.
How Do I Tell if What I Buy is Meant to Be of Single Use?
Because single-use plastic products are so standard in our lives, they are usually easy to spot.
Single-use plastics are examples of shopping bags, plastic beverage straws, styrofoam clamshells, bowls, glasses, and forks.
You can call a lab testing business for professional help if you’re unsure whether your products are made of or include single-use plastics.
Will I Get in Trouble if I Fabricate Single-Use Items?
You may if your state where you currently reside prohibits or restricts the use of single-use plastic products, such as single-use plastic bags and drinking straws.
The Foam Ban, for example, in Washington, D.C., exempts packaging materials produced from foam that does not expand polystyrenes, such as some foam rolls and inserts.
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