Refuse rethink reuse single use plastics, Plastics designed to be used exactly once clog landfills and pollute oceans, Downcycling


From the AP via the Greensboro News Record.

“To cut back on single-use plastics, ‘refuse, rethink, reuse’

“We produce around 407 million tons of plastics a year globally,” says Kera Abraham Panni, conservation and science outreach manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is trying to spread the word about plastics that pollute oceans. “Of that, only 9 percent is recycled.”

 And sanitation experts say “downcycling” may be a more accurate term than “recycling” where plastics are concerned. While glass and metal can be recycled and made into something of the same quality, plastics degrade as they go along.

“With plastics, you’re just delaying their eventual journey to the landfill,” says Amy Korst, author of “The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less” (Ten Speed Press).

Twenty-two aquariums across the country have launched a coordinated campaign to reduce sources of plastic pollution, starting with straws.

“Cutting back on plastic straws doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s an important first step,” says Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard, in California. “It gets people thinking and talking about ways they can reduce their reliance on single-use plastic items, and encourages the innovation of ocean-friendly alternatives.”

The campaign kicked off during #NoStrawNovember, a nationwide movement asking people who don’t need them to refuse plastic straws for 30 days.

“We simply can’t recycle our way out of this problem, and single-use plastics are an easy place to start changing things,” Panni says. “They’re used so fleetingly, and then spend hundreds of years in the environment. And they’re really not necessary.”

Others are finding ways to cut down on plastic bags, bottles and containers.”

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