Wasting Energy The Plastic Way
The biggest energy wasting substance on our planet is……wait for it…….plastic! That’s right, plastic. For all the good that comes from plastic substances, there is more bad about it than anything else.
The worst part about plastic is that it is made from petroleum. Both gas, oil and other fossil fuels are also made from petroleum, so every time a new piece of plastic is made, we are cutting into our petroleum reserves.
On the upside of this equation is the fact that plastic is 100% recyclable. So if we all recycled our plastic goods, we wouldn’t need to use any petroleum to make new plastic. The unfortunate problem is that less than 20% of all plastics are recycled. The rest of it is thrown away and sent to landfills. Which is a completely different problem all its own.
Plastic in landfills does not easily biodegrade. In fact, as the plastic begins to deteriorate, the chemicals used to make plastic leach out into the soil. As this happens, the soil around a landfill becomes akin to toxic waste. Which is why no one wants to live near or around a landfill.
Plastic bottles and plastic grocery bags are the two main sources of plastic use. Once again, both the bags and the bottles are easily recyclable, but most of the time it is just a lot easier to throw them away in the regular trash than to separate them out into individual containers. And every time we throw plastic away, we waste energy to make more plastic. It’s almost like a vicious circle.
Now, I’m not knocking plastic as a substance. Plastic that has been used in the medical field has saved countless lives. Plastic is cheap and easy to mold, making it an incredibly versatile substance all of its own accord. But we all seem to take it for granted, just like it is an infinite resource, and that is the exact opposite of what it is.
We can all do our part to stop this gigantic waste of energy and raw materials. We can change our ways of life with plastic, and it just is not that difficult to accomplish.
Here are two simple things that anyone can do which is less expensive for the bank account, saves energy, saves petroleum products and makes you feel good about doing it. Firstly, get a reusable grocery bag. There are many types out there, from canvas to nylon, and even heavy-duty plastic types that can be used for years. These are far better than getting new plastic bags every time you go to the store. In most cases, these reusable bags can be washed and dried just like regular laundry, and they will be clean and good to go for the next shopping trip.
Another way to get rid of plastic is to purchase an inexpensive faucet filter. Filtered water is every bit as good as bottled water, and there are numerous studies out there that prove it. Fill up your own bottles with filtered water, put them in the fridge to cool them down, and take them with you the next day. This is a huge money saver. The cost of a water filter will pay for itself within a week or two, and it probably won’t need to be changed for months. Reusable plastic or aluminum bottles are available everywhere for about the same price as one 16 oz designer bottled water.
So stop wasting energy the plastic way. There are easy and money saving alternatives to the plastic lifestyle, and they all begin with you.
I’m with you 100% – I recycle as much as possible and even pull recyclable stuff out of the garbage that others have thrown in. Just wanted to comment: It does take _energy_ to turn that old plastic into new, whether generated from oil/gas/coal/nuclear/wind/water. Ideally we could use renewable energy to recycle this stuff but now that’s only a percentage of the case. Let’s be realistic please, recycling isn’t “free”.
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