Why Plastic is Bad


by Plastic-Free Please Action Group

1. Plastic does not go away. Only 9% of it is actually recycled (know your facts). Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, which will end up in our food.

2. Plastic negatively affects our health. Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

3. Plastic spoils our groundwater. There are thousands of landfills in the United States. Buried beneath each one of them, toxic chemicals from plastics drain out and seep into groundwater, flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.

4. Plastic attracts other pollutants. Chemicals in plastic which give them their rigidity or flexibility (flame retardants, bisphenols, phthalates and other harmful chemicals) are oily poisons that repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris. So, the toxic chemicals that leach out of plastics can accumulate on other plastics. This is a serious concern with increasing amounts of plastic debris accumulating in the world’s oceans.

5. Plastic threatens wildlife. Wildlife become entangled in plastic, they eat it or mistake it for food and feed it to their young, and it is found littered in even extremely remote areas of the Earth. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.

6. Plastic piles up in the environment. Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year. Only 8% gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, is burned or becomes litter.

7. Plastic poisons our food chain. Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating microplastics and absorbing their hazardous chemicals. The tiny, broken-down pieces of plastic are displacing the algae needed to sustain larger sea life that feed on them.

8. Plastic costs billions to abate. Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds—because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.

 

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