Plastics: What Can One Person Do?


Photo by Paula Heine

Paula Heine, VOX Reporter

The Iron Age started when humans discovered iron was a useful material and began refining it.  We live in the Plastic Age; we use plastic products every day, and plastic is so commonplace and varied that sometimes we don’t even recognize a product is in fact plastic.  Yet for many thousands of years, people never knew plastics and yet survived; the imperial Romans, for example, lived quite luxurious lives completely without them. Today, however, there are modern applications for plastics in places such as hospitals, and in order to keep the quality of life high, it is recommendable to use some plastic.  But there are problems with using too much of this product.

There has been a high consumption of plastic in the recent past.  The results are that the amount of accumulated plastic waste is increasing, and tiny pieces of it are getting into waterways and animals.  

Amidst this constant build-up of used plastic, you may wonder how to practically use your own motivation to limit the waste.  

The fact is that today we don’t have a neighborhood blacksmith who can easily melt down a broken plastic container like iron and forge it into something new, but there are plenty of other ways to help keep usage of plastic to a more reasonable amount.  

Kimberly McCarthy, an online Journalism teacher for Mother of Divine Grace School, polled her students about what they thought they could do to reduce plastic waste.  Elaine Hauke (I think it was Elaine Hauke because I don’t know of any other Elaines in the class), one of the Journalism students, suggested buying “biodegradable or metal straws and cups instead of plastic ones.” Ideas from other students included buying drinks that come in glass containers and recycling the plastic you have used.    

Every piece of plastic reused, recycled, or reduced helps solve the problem of plastic waste.  The possibilities are almost endless, if you are looking for them.


Do you have any more ideas for how you can use less plastic?  Tell us in the comments below! 


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