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July 14, 2008

The Plastic Menace

Everybody’s talking about the detrimental effects of plastic, both on human health and the environment — and this week’s article in Time magazine is adding to the buzz.So far plastic has garnered a lot of attention because of that nasty endocrine disrupting bisphenol-a (BPA) that’s in everything from Nalgenes to baby bottles. But this piece also touches on the increasingly plastic ocean, referencing the North Pacific gyre (or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), reporting that plastic makes up nearly 12% of our trash, up from 1% in 1960. And another mind-boggling statistic: the U.S. produced 28 million tons of plastic waste in 2005, 27 million tons of which ended up in landfills.The article also links to the blog of a woman who’s on a crusade to use less plastic. On A Life Less Plastic she documents her attempt to do that which may seem awfully difficult — to truly use less plastic. I too am consciously trying to use less plastic and am finding it stubbornly pervasive. At the farmers’ market this weekend I was frustrated by the fact that even though I carry reusable canvas bags with me, the produce vendors give me individual plastic bags for things like berries and leafy greens — and I use them, lest I have a giant mushy mess at the bottom of my bag. But now that I think about it, I could wash those plastic bags out, dry them, and bring them back the next weekend, or simply bring empty containers. I think this blogger’s onto something — I’d love to have a life less plastic.If you haven’t already, take our pledge not to trash the oceans. [Image: Kang Kim via]