Earth Day 2018: Ending Plastic Pollution
Each year, the Earth Day Network chooses a theme for Earth Day to draw attention to an action, product, or practice that can positively impact our environment and protect our planet. For 2018, the focus is on ending plastic pollution. It’s estimated that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic each year — and only 8% is recycled. It infiltrates our groundwater, poisons the food chain, and it never goes away.
But You Can Help! Here’s How:
Stop using straws. In the U.S., 500 million straws are thrown away every day. They’re clogging up waterways and landfills and damaging the environment. Many restaurants across the country are removing straws or providing them by request only.
BYOB (bring your own bag). Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery and other stores to eliminate the need for plastic bags. Many cities are now passing laws forbidding single-use plastic bags, so the sooner you get into the habit of using reusable bags, the better.
Don’t support microplastics. Did you know every time you wash synthetic clothing, they shed tiny fibers of plastic? These microplastics are so small that they aren’t caught in standard filtration units and end up in our waterways, poisoning our water and killing marine animals. You can prevent this by buying clothing made from natural materials and opting for personal care products that don’t contain microbeads (tiny bits of plastic used as exfoliants).
This doesn’t mean you should throw away your old plastic items and run out to purchase new items! It does mean you should try to think before you buy, and look for items with less packaging that are made from natural, reusable materials.
DIY Project: How to Reuse a Plastic Bottle
Here’s a project you can do with children to recycle an old 2-liter bottle into a lovely birdfeeder.
• 2-liter plastic bottle, thoroughly washed and dried, with lid
• Two wooden spoons, sticks, or pencils
Put the spoons through the holes in the bottle.
Poke another hole above each hole you’ve already made. This is where the birds will eat from, as they sit on the spoon.
Poke four holes the center of the plastic bottle so the wooden spoons (or sticks, or pencils) go right through, with the ends sticking out on both sides. If you have them at different angles, you are more likely to get more birds at one time.
Tie a piece of twine (or string, or ribbon) around the top of the bottle, under the lip so it stays put. You could also put it under the lid and screw the lid back on to hold it.
Fill with birdseed, hang, and enjoy!