In the modern world, plastic has penetrated almost everywhere: hygiene products and food are packed into it, car parts, phones, computers, and even chewing gum are made of it. While we are told about plastic recycling, students should be aware that waste will never produce the same material – maximum products of lower quality that can no longer be recycled. Of the 30 million tons of plastic waste in the United States in 2009, only 7% were sent for recycling, which primarily damages marine life (Wilcox et al. 11901). The rest ended their life cycle in garbage heaps on beaches, rivers, and oceans (De Wolff 36). This creates problems such as trash islands floating in the Pacific. In addition, plastic is made using crude oil, which means that the problem with fossil fuels also applies here.
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Reduce the consumption of plastics is beneficial, but sometimes difficult to access due to the insecurity of food storage and lack of convenience. However, it is possible to avoid unnecessary packaging or choose environmentally friendly alternatives. The growing demand for plastic-free products, in turn, will force companies to redesign their products. Raising consumer awareness of the environmental impact of their choices is a long-term strategy (Liboiron 98). Therefore, KSU students should organize on-campus events that will promote eco-friendly alternatives. It can be provided through formal education: in schools, universities, or non-formal – news, videos. Interest in environmental issues is growing and supported by free online courses, lectures, and events, thematic mobile applications. Plastic materials are not biodegradable, which makes them toxic and highly detrimental to marine animals (Bergmann et al. 297). It is necessary to evaluate the life cycle of the product and packaging – this helps to identify ways to improve the environmental parameters of products at different stages of their use.
Bergmann, Melanie, et al. “Sea Change for Plastic Pollution.” Nature, vol. 554, no. 1, 2017, pp. 297-298.
De Wolff, Kim. “Plastic Naturecultures: Multispecies Ethnography and the Dangers of Separating Living from Nonliving Bodies.” Body & Society, vol. 23, no. 3, 2017, pp. 23-47.
Liboiron, Max. “Redefining Pollution and Action: The Matter of Plastics.” Journal of Material Culture, vol. 21, no. 1, 2016, pp. 87-110.
Wilcox, Chris, et al. “Threat of Plastic Pollution to Seabirds is Global, Pervasive, and Increasing.” PNAS, vol. 112, no. 38, 2015, pp. 11899-11904.