Life Without Plastic

Mia Barbero, Writer

It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. With plastic taking around one thousand years to decompose, who knows how much longer we have until the damages of plastic waste cannot be reversed.

Plastic is used by hundreds of millions of Americans every single day. Common items such as water bottles, toys, toothbrushes, and the packaging millions of other products contain plastic. Most probably do not think of the effects of throwing away so much plastic has on the environment, but they can be pretty severe.

“I don’t ever think of it, really,” Bria Larson (‘22) said. “But, I believe it is harmful for wildlife and, when gotten rid of in the wrong ways, can be harmful to us as well.”

However, there have been attempts to inform younger generations about the effects plastic has on the environment. The ‘VSCO girl’ trend of 2019 was not all just a fashion trend. It actually brought some awareness to the effects of plastic being in the ocean to younger generations. 

“I always think about how I could be doing more to to prevent pollution,” Morgan Romanski (‘23) said. “But it’s really hard in this day and age to completely stop using plastic.”

Some simply do not care because it does not affect them personally right now.

“I think the idea of trying to save the environment is good, but I don’t care enough to be actively influenced by it,” Jacob Tooly (‘21) said. “It’s likely not going to affect me either way, so I’m a ‘not my problem’ kind of person with this issue.”

Others actually have been affected by the excessive use of plastic and littering.

“I believe that the excessive use of plastic impacts everyone and everything,” Isabella Rodriguez (‘23) said. “I have even seen first hand how plastic affects everyone. Everyone needs to be more considerate of their plastic use and also their carbon footprint.”

It is estimated that by 2050 we will use three times more plastic than in 2014. If plastic waste causes so much damage right now, who knows how much worse the effects will be.

“It takes so long for the plastic to decompose,” Liberty student Reagan Shelton (‘23) said. “It affects the ecosystems of so many animals.”

It would be impossible to suddenly cut plastic out of our lives completely. However, there are some more realistic ways to cut back on your use of plastic. 

“People should avoid drinking out of single-use plastic water bottles or using straws if possible,” Grace Warren (‘23) said. “It’s a small change to make that has a big impact.” 

There are many ways to reduce plastic waste, but it takes effort and a willingness to do what might not be the most convenient.

“There is a solution to this problem, which is recycling,” Addison Brown (‘24) said. “Recycling, not only saves the earth and its species, it allows more resources such as clothing, shoes, or furniture to be made.”

There is one important thing to remember: a few people cutting out plastic completely will not make that big of a change. Many people trying their best and cutting down on plastic through simple changes will.