We are a society that loves convenience and a bargain and since plastic offers both in spades, we love our plastic. Can’t get enough of it. Since it burst on the market in the 1950s as a miracle material, it has been gaining in popularity and in sheer volume at an exponential rate. More than 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year and 50% of that is for single-use plastic. And now we are completely surrounded by it.
This is not an exaggeration. It is in our rivers, ditches, beaches, Mariana’s Trench, Mount Everest and it forms islands in our oceans. It is beneath our feet in the layers of the earth. It is in the air we breathe. It is in the food we eat. It is in our bodies.
This is not only the age of Anthropocene, it is also the epoch of Plasticene. Future generations will be able to identify our existence by the layers of plastic in the earth. But we are compromising the health and survival of those future generations with our lifestyles that require convenience and bargains. We are also compromising our own health.
The plastic problem has reached epic proportions and is predicted to get worse. The oil industry sees plastic as a way to continue raking in profits. They see a lot of money in our addiction. They want to push us to consume more. But for the sake of our health, our planet and our descendants we need to break this addiction. It’s not easy. Breaking addictions never is. Society has made it very difficult to kick the habit. Try not touching plastic for an hour. Try not buying anything that contains any plastic for a week. Not easy.
But here’s one step towards breaking the addiction that is easy: replace your plastic bottles of shampoo with a shampoo bar. Easy. And it feels good to kick that nasty habit in one area of your life. The message we send when we opt to eliminate single-use plastic is “Actually it is not ok that you compromise my health and my planet for the sake of your profits.”