The Plastic Problem: It’s Getting Better, But We Can Improve It!

Lauren Mitchell, OwlFeed Editor-In-Chief

Starting March 1, New York’s plastic-bag ban was finally put in place, to stop the clogging of the thin plastic bags in landfills, oceans, rivers, and just, in general, the littering of the city. However, just as we have seen with plastic straws, plastic bags are not the only harm to our environment. 

Plastic is the problem. We see it as a cheap and easy material that can be thrown away, but in reality, plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose. That Target bag to carry your three items, or that plastic straw you used to drink your Starbucks, or that plastic water bottle you bought for a dollar, will not decompose for ten lifetimes! 

People are becoming more aware of the plastic problem, that is why New York passed its plastic-bag ban and metal straws have become so popular. However, plastic bottles still are a huge problem. 

Obviously, you’ve probably heard this a million times. I’m just another person ranting about how we need to save the environment, and nothing will probably come of this. However, I think that similar to bugging your dad to give you 5 bucks, at one point he will be so annoyed by your begging and give it to you, that the remainder of the problem will make people realize. 

According to OceanCrusaders.Org, “In 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.”

Photo Credit: Lauren Mitchell

There are endless ways to reduce this number! Buying a $7 pack of metal straws is one step closer to a cleaner Earth, taking reusable bags to the grocery store is even better for the environment, and buying a reusable water bottle is a godsend, not just for the Earth, but for you!

“There are so many ocean animals that are endangered,” said Lyanna Escobar, a senior here at Agua Fria. This problem is one of the reasons, other than it being a trend, why she “bought a Hydro Flask because it can hold so much water and I don’t have to have a new plastic one every day that I drink quickly.”

This isn’t sponsored, but Hydro Flasks, the modern fad, are everywhere and here’s why: these metal bottles, aside from being stylish and able to keep your water cold all day, are pretty indestructible and easy to take anywhere. 

Best worded by CNN, “As more people grew wary of disposable plastic water bottles, and plastic in general, metal bottles became all the rage. These water bottles became a symbol of passion for the environment. Metal water bottles from brands like Yeti, S’well and Klean Kanteen exploded alongside Hydro Flask, and the world embraced eco-friendly, vacuum-insulated bottles.”

If the environmental positives aren’t persuasive enough, think about the money-saving. One of these eco-friendly water bottles can cost anywhere from $15-60 depending on how boujee you feel. I’ve had my $40 Hydro flask for about a year and before having it, I would buy a water bottle at school every day for a dollar. Sometimes I’d even buy two. 

Mathematically, in one month the amount I spent on plastic water bottles is equal to the price of one Hydro Flask that I can reuse and fill up. Not to mention my water is cold and I am saving the environment one bottle at a time. 

Overall, the reusable items that help save the environment are beneficial to you too! Seriously these little changes do matter! Reduce, REUSE, and recycle!