Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Do We Reduce Our Use of Disposable Plastics?

By: Breanna Linn

The vast use of disposable plastics in the world today has many detrimental effects on the environment and it would be great to say that solely using recycled materials is an easy thing to do. However, due to the state of the economy, it may be a difficult task to ask people and manufactures to turn to using recycled plastics instead of one time use plastics. Although this may be a possibility, the circumstances of each company and individual creates an issue for making this more predominate.

Plastic Pollution and the Great Pacific Ocean Gyre Garbage Patch, a recent blog posted by, suggests ways in which we can use recycled plastics as an alternative to single use ones. The argument being made presents deductive logic as the premises stated throughout provide support for the conclusion. Though the premises being stated do convey us with ways in which we can improve our ecological footprints and eliminate the use of disposable plastics, they are not the most tangible solutions for each person. For example, the article provides the readers with a website where they can purchase recycled products from small scale manufactures and family businesses. This suggestion does provide a good solution to improving our use of recycled materials, but seeing as this is not the most convenient source to purchase these items for many people it might not have as great of an impact. Also, the use of disposable plastics for large manufacturing companies is probably a lot cheaper and easier to get hold of in comparison to recycled plastic. Even though using recycled materials is a greener solution to the problem, a lot of time would be needed in order for this to become implemented. As well, recycled plastics need to first become more available in order for there to be an impact made on our world.

Although the argument being presented is one that may not be quickly put into effect at the current time, the premises stated do support the fact that recycled materials are much more beneficial to us and our environment. It seems as though one of the main culprits for use of disposable plastics in excess is manufactures. Since they do indeed produce mass amounts of waste, it is these companies that need to be targeted first. As the article states, our recycling rates will improve by more than 7%, which may not seem like a lot now, but in the long run will have great benefits. Another solution stated within the article shows that plastic from the oceans is being used to create prototypes of vacuum cleaners by the Electrolux vacuum company. Unfortunately, the process of making these recycled vacuums is prohibitively long and not sustainable for long term usage. Due to the fact that the solutions needed to be implemented are not so easy, this creates an issue in minimizing the production and accumulation of plastic on land and in water.

The arguments being made throughout the article do present validity as it offers ways in which we can reduce our use of disposable plastics. However, the lack of consideration for the current circumstances that we are faced with creates a weakness in pursuing the solutions that are suggested. It is highly unlikely that we as a nation will be able to make drastic changes to the way in which we live and work over a short period of time, especially since there had been a downfall within the economy. In order for us to make an impact and help our environment, we need to take baby steps and slowly progress toward changing our ways. Though the article does present us with methods in which we can use recycled materials, for example the fencing made out of 100% recycled plastic, it is not necessarily a practical solution for each individual. Trying to force big ideas to make improvements will prove little change because everyone has a different situation. If we take action in small steps however, this will create more leeway, allowing each individual or company to progress at its own rate. Ultimately, this will give us time to create a greener, healthier world.
When thinking of ways to solve the issues that our environment is facing, we must take all circumstances into consideration in order to come up with a reasonable and efficient solution for improvement. The article presented to me did indeed provide the readers with ways to stop the use of disposable plastics, but unfortunately did not pay attention to the surrounding situations that may not be able to follow through with the suggestions provided. Yes, we are coming up with new designs and technologies that use recycled materials and are environmentally friendly. However, these solutions seem to be too far from our reality at the time. Instead of forcing these solutions onto society, we need to be faced with easy answers that provide us with enough information to make reasonable changes. All must be taken into account in order to come up with practical and achievable solutions. If this is done, then there is hope for making a difference.


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