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Why is plastic bad for the environment and us?

Written by: Hendrik

Category: Pollution, Solution

Updated on:


Plastic isn’t so fantastic after all. Sure, you can mold it into any shape or form, making it really applicable in almost any industry. But if you are reading this, then you have, like me, been tapping around in the dark.

I feel like no one until now really told us about the health effects that plastic can have. Chemicals are leaching off into the food it is supposed to protect. And what about the time that it spends degrading in the environment?

It is ugly and painful to see, turtles with straws in their nose and stranded whales with stomachs full of plastic waste. Instead, most of us turn our eyes away and go on with our “normal” days. Plastic pollution is destroying the world as we know it and fast. So very fast that things are about to change very soon.

fish in plastic bags
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You probably heard that there would be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050. That is not very far away.

According to science and Greta Thunberg, we have about 12 years left to bring carbon emissions down; fires, as we see in Australia and the Amazon, will be the norm.

Plastic is not a natural product; instead of biodegrading into something organic, it breaks up into microplastic.

Microplastic has been found in human feces. It is in our drinking water and the air we breathe.

Learn how to avoid eating plastic with these 12 proven ways in this article.

What are endocrine disrupters?

Apparently, we consume the equivalent of one credit card per week. Without even knowing about the consequences this can potentially have on our health.

While the chemicals used to make plastic are known to be endocrine disruptors, most people don’t actually know what that means.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and attach themselves to receptors, much like a key into a lock. The difference is that both the healthy hormone and the ED fit the lock, but the outcome can be dramatically different.

ED has been linked to cancers early developmental issues and many more…

So why is this being kept quiet?

My first thought is a conspiracy. There is a multi-billion dollar industry behind plastic, and quite frankly, it doesn’t want to be disturbed. As long as companies can still dig and frack for oil, which is needed to create plastic, we will keep going, although they are quite aware that plastic is bad for the environment.

A straightforward solution to this problem could be to change the amount it costs to make virgin plastic from crude oil. If, for instance, recycling plastic would become cheaper than creating new plastic, the scale would tip over to the other side, and as a result, we will see an immediate behavior change.

In this Ted talk with Andrew Forrest, I found a glimpse of hope.

A radical plan to end plastic waste | Andrew Forrest

Third-world countries suddenly would have access to a lot of wealth. All they need to do is collect, separate, and wash the plastics. It becomes a valuable resource again.

Related: There are 7 different types of plastic, but what do they mean?

If you would like to take action and help or want to contribute to saving our planet from plastics, consider plastics recycling jobs on Jooble

Plastic has made its way into the Food Chain

Since plastic is very brittle, it has found its way into our food chain.

From discarded fishing nets, aka ghost nets, to mismanaged waste. Every minute a garbage truck full of trash finds its way into the ocean.

Related: 6 companies that turn ghost nets into new products!

Often people don’t realize that the ocean starts at the drainage system in their city.

From a cigarette, the most littered item in the world (that is not biodegradable and made from plastic), to packaging that we use for seconds at a time. Once it is created, it takes 1000s of years to break down. It will never biodegrade.

The plastics that have been named biodegradable are only biodegradable in special facilities. A mix of bacteria under a controlled temperature provides a stable environment for the composting process to occur.

Related: Biodegradable VS Compostable – What does it even mean?

There are only a few facilities in the world that are capable of this decomposing process.

You can start making a change when you wash your clothes, with these detergent strips. Check out the earth breeze review here.

What are the Effects of plastic pollution on human health?

So we know that our oceans have become the biggest dump of them all. Most of it we don’t see with the naked eye, which may give us the illusion that there is no problem in the first place.

plastic bad environment
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Plastic absorbs toxins, much like a sponge on its way through the ocean. As ingested by marine animals and then later by us, they cause severe problems. We, as humans, consume contaminated fish and marine mammals.

I used to love eating seafood but since I learned how bad plastic is for the environment I no longer or very rarely eat fish. You got to be extra careful with anything that is a bottom feeder like crayfish, or a hunter like a tuna. Since they eat other marine animals that have already ingested plastic waste.

If you would like a more in-depth article I found this one from the national geographic.

Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

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