Backstory and Science
Since cheap plastics became abundant after the Second World War, we’ve developed a “single-use” disposable culture. From coffee cups to plastic cutlery, we’ve forgotten a world in which our tools and utensils were saved and cared for. The costs of our convenience are evident in overflowing landfills, plastic-choked waters, and stricken wildlife. We now know that only 9% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled and that this proportion will diminish as plastic production booms.
As the public wakes up to the plastics crisis, some companies have been working to develop and promote alternative “compostable” single-use disposables. Compostables are likely preferable to plastics made from fossil fuels, which can take 1000 years to decompose. But there are many problems with single-use compostables, including insufficient industrial composting facilities, incorrect waste stream allocation, toxic chemicals in production and compost output, and resource-intensive production and transportation.
Most of all, compostables perpetuate and disguise an underlying sickness: Our waste problem is not just a plastics problem; it’s also a single-use problem. It’s time to ditch our disposable culture and re-create a way of life in which we rely on sturdy, long-lasting items designed to be lovingly used, re-used, and perhaps even passed on to the next generation.
This month, we challenge everyone to adopt at least two new “reusables” habits:
Ready to take action? Share how you’re participating in the challenge in our Embrace the Earth Facebook Group!
#CutOutCutlery Globally! Encourage restaurants to allow customers to only receive plastic cutlery by request. UberEats, DoorDash and Grubhub have already complied with this campaign!
Californians: Sign Heal the Bay’s petition in support of SB-54, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.
US residents: Send an email to your Congress Members to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020 to hold corporations and plastic producers accountable for the single-use plastic crisis.
Learn more about SB-54, the Plastic Pollution Producer Responsibility Act.
Information provided on this page is from IKAR, a spiritual community in Los Angeles.