Lots of Plastic Bottles

Reflections on Prolific Plastic During Plastic-Free July

As Americans, we all share the frustration of encountering an endless amount of plastic in our lives. Many of us now know #1, #2, and sometimes #5 are the only truly recyclable plastics.  Sadly, most plastic products and packaging end up in landfills, incinerators, or litter in our environment because they were never designed to be recyclable. 

We also know wherever there is plastic, there are microplastics, which end up in our water, soil, air, and bodies. The plastic crisis needs urgent attention, and many solutions exist to reduce plastic consumption

But the truth is: it’s not up to individuals to solve the plastic pollution crisis. We need top-down, systemic interventions, including state, federal, and even global policy, like extended producer responsibility for packaging, better bottle bills, the discontinuation of production for plastics that are toxic or cannot be recycled, and truth in labeling packaging as recyclable when it isn’t.  

To bring awareness to the amount of plastic thrust upon us daily, we asked four team members to track their plastic use for a few days and report back on what they found. Read their plastic-use journals through the menu on the right. 

If you are inspired and want to track your plastic use, please post on social media, tag the Ecology Center (@EcologyCenter on Facebook & @ecology_center on Instagram), and add the hashtag #toomuchplastic.