Below is a guest article by Michael Rosenberg, CEO of PlasticPlace.net, which produces garbage bags that are made from 80% reclaimed, recycled content. Visit their website to learn more about their products and their commitment to using plastic responsibly in everyday applications.
Plastic was once hailed for its potential to reduce mankind’s heavy environmental footprint. It was actually invented as a response to offset heavy use of natural resources that were rapidly dwindling, like ivory and tortoiseshell. Patented in 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt and his company, they asserted that this man-made material would provide respite to the animals that were the source of these materials because it would, “no longer be necessary to ransack the earth in pursuit of substances which are constantly growing scarcer”.
Today, it is perceived as the nemesis of nature. Plastic is a compound that is one of the hardest to break down and use successfully. Its use has become so commonplace that half of nearly 600 billion pounds of plastics produced each year go into single-use products – things like plastic bags, drinking straws, packaging, syringes and bottles.
The key here is to remember the term: single-use. As it suggests, once the intended task for it is done, the material is simply discarded and thrown away, resulting in an alarming accumulation of plastic materials in places where one isn’t supposed to find it – like the Pacific Ocean, for example, where a gyre of marine litter stretches out over an indeterminate area, now dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Fortunately, people have found ways to reduce the accumulation with innovative recycling ideas and promoting more responsible use of already existing materials. Companies are now producing everything from fabrics to toys to equipment and insulation using reclaimed plastic and other synthetic materials. Some have even resorted to using plastic to create synthetic crude oil which can be refined into fuel.
Plastic isn’t going away anytime soon; at this point in time, there are seven billion people on earth that cannot get by on wood and stone alone, and they shouldn’t have to. Plastic is not necessarily bad for the environment: promoting responsible use of the material is still the best way to go about reducing its negative impact on the environment.
By understanding the true worth of plastic, and not using it on inconsequential products that only create more waste, we can use it to its fullest advantage – plastic, after all, makes green technology like solar panels possible; it also helps in the creation of lighter cars and planes that use less fuel.
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