Category Archives: Plastic

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.

 

West Chester stands up to the state by passing a single-use plastic bag and straw ban

by Paige Vermeulen, West Chester Green Team, 7/22/19

In late June, PA Governor Wolf signed a state budget to which the General Assembly added an amendment that blocks municipalities from passing plastic bans. But West Chester became the first municipality to stand up against this legislation by passing a ban anyway — because the plastic crisis can’t wait any longer.

From “West Chester Passes Ban of Single-Use Plastic Bags and Straws,” by Justin Heinze, West Chester Patch, 7/19/10:

WEST CHESTER, PA — Before a packed crowd at borough hall Wednesday night, West Chester made history, voting to become the latest Pennsylvania municipality to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags and straws. It comes as local governments spar with the conservative state legislature that has sought to make such ordinances illegal.

West Chester’s borough council voted 4-3 to approve the ordinance. The vote comes less than a year after nearby Narberth became the first municipality in all of Pennsylvania to pass a similar measure. And it passed despite concerns expressed by council members early in the meeting that the measure defied state law.

“It is incumbent upon council to resist and if you’re going to resist, resist completely,” State Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) told the gathering. “This is a clear overreach of local control.” …

Plastics ban meeting

Please read the full article HERE at Patch.com.

Prepared statement by Prof. Ashlie B. Delshad for the Plastics Ordinance hearing, West Chester, 7/17/19… and more info

from West Chester Green Team, 7/17/19

Borough Council approved the ordinance at an exciting and even dramatic hearing! Many thanks to the huge number of citizens who turned out to support the ordinance! Download the text of the ordinance here: https://wcgreenteam.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/plastic-bag-and-straw-ordinance-wc-for-7-17-19.pdf. One change was made: the effective date was moved from January 1 to July 2, 2020 (the day after the reports stipulated by the state government’s would-be delaying action are due). See background and the summary and text in which the General Assembly tried to block the ordinance in our post. “Harrisburg vs. West Chester.” Although Professor Delshad did not get a chance to be among those who spoke at the hearing, we are posting her eloquent prepared statement as one more piece of evidence why the ordinance needed to be passed:

In 2015, 73% of West Chester voters cast their ballots in favor of our Community Bill of Rights, which includes the following language:

“We the people of West Chester Borough, Pennsylvania, find that our current system of government fails to recognize our self-governing authority because corporations may assert their “rights” to override our laws; our local government and elected representatives can be preempted by the state or federal government even when our elected representatives act to protect our community’s health, safety, and welfare; and our local government is banned from adopting and enforcing laws that have not been authorized by the state…

Read more and see further links at West Chester Green Team

“Recycling is supposed to be the last resort” – Why our recycling system is broken

by Paige Vermeulen, West Chester Green Team, 7/6/19

The US Recycling System Is Garbage (Sierra Magazine, 6/26/19, by Edward Humes) details the many issues in the US’s current recycling system. Most of what you put in the bin doesn’t actually get recycled, and recycling is now coming as a cost to our economy – and it’s all because China stopped accepting our dirty plastics.

Since about 1992, the US has been selling our plastic waste to Asia, namely China, because it is easier and less costly than processing it here. Then, the plastic would be processed under lax environmental conditions, along with much of it being dumped into rivers.

Prior to this offshoring, the US actually had a fairly healthy recycling system. In the ’70s and ’80s, US consumers would clean their recyclables and separate the materials. After we started shipping away this waste, the system deteriorated, as we no longer had to deal with the problem. Nowadays, consumers will throw anything into the recycling bin – from dirty food containers to old furniture. …

read more at West Chester Green Team,

June 27: “Plastic Crisis – How a Shopping Bag Can End Up in Your Food & What We Can Do About It!”

Thursday June 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm: “Plastic Crisis – How a Shopping Bag Can End Up in Your Food & What We Can Do About It!”

Thursday June 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm, in Room 101, West Chester University Business and Public Management Center, 50 Sharpless St., West Chester 19382. Park if needed across the street in Sharpless Parking Garage. All welcome.

Sponsored by Plastics-Free Please Action Group and West Chester Green Team.

The growing plastic waste that we produce daily is becoming a real threat to our environment and civilization. We will learn how plastic can affect our body, what West Chester is doing to reduce the usage of plastic in the Borough and what changes you can make in your daily life to reduce plastics.

Doors open at 6:30 so come then for environmental and community group exhibits. No refreshments but you can fill up your refillable water bottles. Program starts at 7 p.m.

1) The Impact of Plastics on our Environment and our Bodies, by Carol Armstrong, PhD, Expert in Watershed Restoration, Master Watershed Steward with Penn Extension, Neuropsychologist

2) Update on Efforts to Ban Plastic Bags and Straws in the West Chester Area

3) Tips and Ideas on How You Can Reduce Plastic in Your Daily Life

4) Q&A

More info about the program: cit331@gmail.com

Maryland becomes the second state to ban plastic foam containers

US PIRG, May 24, 2019

In less than a month, Maryland joins Maine in passing historic legislation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s statewide ban on polystyrene foam cups and containers will officially go into law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. In March, Maryland became the first state in the country to pass a foam ban through its state legislature. Following Maine’s lead earlier this month, Maryland is now the second state to have a foam ban on the books.

Polystyrene foam — commonly referred to as Styrofoam — is one of the most common and hazardous forms of single-use plastic. Less than 3 percent of it is recycled, and once in landfills or the natural environment, it persists for hundreds of years.

In a single year, Americans throw out 25 billion polystyrene foam cups, part of the 8 million tons of plastic dumped in waterways every year. A recent study found that of all the polystyrene and other plastics ever made, 79 percent currently exist in landfills or in rivers, lakes and oceans. …

read more and see links at US PIRG. And how about it, Pennsylvania?

What is Earth Day, and what is it meant to accomplish?

by Kathleen Rogers, president, Earth Day Network

On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.

The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.

One billion people

Earth Day is now a global event each year, and we believe that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, has chosen as the theme for 2018 to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate primarily single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN is educating millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that plastic waste is creating serious global problems.

From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival….

read more at Earth Day Network