Ban on Single Use Plastic: An Evaluation

1096 words (4 pages) Essay in Environmental Studies

08/02/20 Environmental Studies Reference this

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In every country around the world plastic is a relevant part of human beings everyday life. The ban of single use plastic has been a topic of discussion for years as most of these items are not recycled and are used only for a short time. The impact that single use plastic has on the environment is devastating. However, there are still companies that do not agree with banning single use plastic, as it will affect the workforce. The world must ban single use plastic, as it has no benefit other than convenience for the public, yet it is destroying our fragile ecosystems.

 There are hundreds of millions of plastic products that are made each year (Dal Porto 10). The demand for plastic continues to rise and in turn has created devastating affects on our fragile ecosystems. Most plastic isn’t recyclable which means that these products end up in landfills and about 10 million to 20 million tons ends up in our oceans (Dal Porto 10). If the plastic is petroleum based this means that it is not biodegradable (Dal Porto 10). Although it is not biodegradable it does break down into tiny pieces, which reaches our oceans, drinking water, sea creatures and even our blood streams (Dal Porto 10). The average lifespan of a plastic bag is only 12 minutes, and most of these ends up in a landfill, which can remain for 1,000 years (Woodward).

There are many countries around the world that have pledged to ban single use plastic. In fact there are 127 countries that have implemented some type of policy in regulating plastic bags (Woodward). Kenya has one of the strictest laws when it comes to banning single use plastic. In Kenya producing, selling or even using plastic bags puts you at risk for imprisonment and a hefty fine (Woodward). Single use plastic such as plates, cutlery, and straws will be banned from the European Union market starting in 2021 (Alperowicz). Currently there are several garbage patches in our oceans. One of the largest is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it is more than twice the size of Texas (Woodward). Plastic bags that end up in the ocean are endangering sea creatures. Sea creatures are eating the plastic bags or they are becoming entangled and are unable to free themselves. Roughly 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year due to plastic bags in the ocean (Woodward). Our oceans are not the only water source that is being affected by single use plastic. The Great Lakes in the United States contain one fifth of the fresh water on Earth and of the trash that is found in this are 80% is plastic (Bartolotta and Hardy 576).

There is some opposition when it comes the ban of single use plastic. Plastic bag manufacturers and recycling industries employ about 24,600 people across the United States (Dal Porto 11). These industries argue that there could be devastating effects on the workforce as well as the economy. In 2005 the American Progressive Bag Alliance was founded in order to support plastic bag manufacturers and their products (Dal Porto 11). This alliance promotes recycling, encourages bag reuse and even educates people about the benefits of using plastic bags (Dal Porto 12). In many countries there is a charge for buying reusable bags in order to cut down on plastic waste, which does not always go over well with consumers. Another reason that people do not think that banning single use plastic will benefit the planet is due to the fact that disposable plastic bags require fewer resources, such as: land, water and CO2 emissions (Stanislaus).

Although there are two sides to this argument the ban on single use plastic should move forward and should be enacted in all countries around the world. There will be ways to create sustainable jobs in order for our economy to thrive as well as our environment. The ban of single use plastic will benefit the planet as well as our workforce. Companies will be able to create more eco-friendly products so that jobs do not suffer, and the planet could recover and sustain. By demanding people to recycle plastic there will be less plastic that ends up in a landfill or into our water systems.

Annotated Bibliography:

Dal Porto’s article on banning single use plastic is a peer-reviewed article that states clear facts on why this ban is necessary. The article also poses the opposition of the argument.

  • Alperowicz, Natasha. “EU parliament backs proposal to ban single-use plastics from 2021”. Chemical Week, October 22, 2018 – October 29, 2018. https://advance-lexis-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:5TNX-CC51-DYRW-V18G-00000-00&context=1516831. Accessed May 5, 2019.

Alperowicz article goes into detail about the EU’s plans to ban single use plastic by 2021.

Woodward’s article goes into depth about the devastating affects that plastic has created for our fragile ecosystems. This article also highlights countries that are taking a stand against these items.

  • Bartolotta, Jill, and Hardy, Scott. “Barriers and Benefits to Desired Behaviors for Single Use Plastic Items in Northeast Ohio’s Lake Erie Basin.” Marine Pollution Bulletin 127 (2018): n. pag. Web.

This article shows the reader that allow oceans are affected by single use plastic there are also devastating affects on the Great Lakes when it comes to plastic waste.

Stanislaus gives a great argument on why getting rid of single use plastic will not necessarily benefit the planet. I chose this due to the fact that it shows the other side of the argument.

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