At this point, most of us know that plastic is environmentally problematic. Cheap, convenient and ubiquitous, plastic products undeniably make our lives easier in the short term. But in the long run, our reliance on plastic—especially single-use plastic—will destroy our planet.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), around 8 million metric tons of plastic gets deposited into our oceans each year—that's equivalent to the weight of 90 aircraft carriers. From toothbrushes to water bottles, grocery sacks to food packaging, what we discard from our daily lives has to go somewhere. While some plastics can be recycled, the environmental promise that recycling programs held for us in the past has not really panned out in the present. Far too much plastic waste ends up washing down our watersheds, into our streams and rivers and out to contaminate our oceans.
Intellectually, we know the trade-off of marine contamination for modern convenience isn't worth it. But humans are creatures of habit who tend to resist change, even when we know it's good for us or the right thing to do. So how do we make the changes we know are necessary? What are some practical ways we can work to break our plastic dependency and move toward a more sustainable lifestyle?
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