Taking initiative to clean the oceans
Single Use Plastic Bans
Plastic Can Harm the Environment in More Ways Than You Can Imagine
Plastic bags fill up the ocean and land alike. They make up 10% of the washed-up garbage polluting American coastline, and more end up in landfills as the recycling cost is too high.
And they take forever to go. An average plastic bag can take decades, even centuries to decompose, not to mention the time it takes for the contained chemicals to break down.
And they produce greenhouse gases including methane, whose warming impact is 28-36 times higher (EPA data) than that of CO2, while decaying.
And they kill. Mistaking plastic bags for food alone kills almost 1,000,000 birds,100,000 turtles and many other marine animals each year. Take casualties caused in other ways by floating plastic, such as entanglement and suffocation, into account and the number becomes more staggering.
And think twice before taking a paper bag -- these come from trees (14 million trees every year for the U.S. market alone to be exact) and produce twice the atmospheric waste of plastic bags.
That's Why we Pushed for a Ban Against Them
Reduce, reuse, recycle -- One simple solution is to decrease the amount of unnecessary plastic we use in the first place. Banning and replacing single-use plastic bags has been done in many cities around the world, and we at Seaside Sustainability are excited to be working on plastic reduction initiatives on the North Shore.
Our targets include plastic bags, polystyrene (Styrofoam) food-ware, plastic cutlery, plastic straws and stirrers, balloons, and single-use plastic water bottles. Considering the availability of compostable and reusable alternatives, as well as the economic benefits, we are hopeful that communities will be motivated to take these important steps to maintain the beauty and health of our local environment.
Single Use Ban Successes
Seaside has helped pass single use plastic bans in Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport (one of the most comprehensive bans in the country), and is actively working with four other towns. We have now shared the documents we used with the public, so that others can use them and take action in their own communities.