The Flaming Vegan

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Why is Plastic so Harmful to the Environment?
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Why is Plastic so Harmful to the Environment?

Plastic bags now already have the reputation of being fairly destructive for the environment. They are made from crude oil, and the implications of that are several. For starters, it’s not a renewable resource, making it hard to understand why we are so dependent on that product. Secondly, extracting it causes an incredible amount of pollution, no matter how it is done. According to the Natural Environment website, it takes up to 100 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s worth of plastic bags worldwide.

Then, there is the time it takes to degrade. Since most are not biodegradable, they don’t actually completely disappear. Instead, they leave a form of ‘plastic dust’, which is a very small particle of plastic. What we need to know is that not all plastic bags end up in landfills. Several are found in forests, lakes, rivers and oceans. As a matter of fact, there is a ‘plastic soup’ patch in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of continental USA, and it is not going to disappear due to the makeup of the bags.

Although most people know about the devastating effects of plastic, there are still quite a lot of people who refuse to throw their garbage in the right locations (bins) or reduce their consumption of bags and disposable products. This affects the wildlife in every location that the plastic is contaminating.

For example, approximately 100,000 sea turtles and other marine mammals die each year from ingesting pieces of plastic since they mistake it for food. Jellyfish are apparently prone to this as well as the albatross and other endangered species. Land wildlife do the same thing, and this could have dire consequences on humans in the long run, since most people on the planet still eat meat.

Some suggest recycling as an alternative, but this is not reliable since the resource is still being used, and we need to use more energy to convert the plastic into a new item. Reusing it as a doggie-doo bag is nice, or for the garbage bins, but this still means we are using plastic. The best solution is to purchase reusable bags, or better yet, make your own from scrap materials.


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  1. BuddhasDelight
    plastic sucks! thank for the great info and reminder. blessings. voted. :)
    1. SnakeWitch
      Yup. Yucky.
  2. kristo
    voted! Have you seen the documentary "Bag it" ? It is about the plastic bag issue and if I remember correctly, the plastic soup in the pacific is mentioned.
    1. SnakeWitch
      I did not, actually. I heard of the plastic soup from Greenpeace.
  3. JustVegan
    yes we need to use recyclable bags and there need to be better waste management systems. good thoughts. voted.
    1. SnakeWitch
  4. Veggie
    This post makes me re-think my plastic use at the grocery. Voted!
    1. SnakeWitch
      My goal exactly! Thank you!
  5. Shabs Online
    Shabs Online
    Plastic is bad.......Waste management really needs to be worked upon more! Voted!
  6. hstiles
    I definitely agree that we need to significantly cut down on our plastic bag useage, but while I was reading this I was wondering what we would use as alternatives. Of course for grocery bags we can use reusable bags and instead of using ziploc baggies, we can use tupperware containers and dishes. But what would you use in place of a garbage bag? There is no alternative that I can think of since they have to be disposable and its not like you could use a paper bag in most instances.
    1. SnakeWitch
      For this one, the only thing I can think of is trying to stick to biodegradable only and trying to greatly reduce your garbage amount by composting and not purchasing disposable objects like razors - only change the blade, for example - and maximise recycling. I have an article with tons of ideas on how to reduce your trash: Enjoy!
      1. hstiles
        Okay, I'll check it out! Thanks for the tips. It definitely requires a different mindset to be more conscious about these issues.
  7. moregreensplease
    The thing we must do is put our knoledge of what these bags are doing to the environment before our selfish need for convenience. And that, I addmit is not easy to do but it is what we must do.Voted!
    1. SnakeWitch
  8. Veganara
    Voted, although you have already reached TPs! Still, it deserves as many votes as possible, brilliant blog. Plastic is a real worry; I always take fabric eco-bags with me when I go shopping now, to avoid having to get supermarket carriers, and I try to use them in other places too. Plastic must have seemed like a godsend when it was invented, but like so many of these things, all they were really doing was opening up Pandora's Box......PS Please check out my latest recipe, Taste-of-the-Woodland Tarts!!
  9. johnadams007007
    Plastic sucks, have you seen the poor sea turtles?


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