Zero Waste

Kesha Palmer, Opinion Editor

What do you see when you imagine the Earth in 20 million years? Will humans be thriving with new and advanced technology speeding around in their flying cars? Or will the planet be covered in trash with no signs of life in decades? About roughly 3,500 pounds of hazardous waste is produced yearly in America. To put into perspective that’s 4.6 pounds of trash per person every day in America alone. This trash makes its way into landfills, incinerators, and the ocean which has built up over time. Many individuals have adjusted their lifestyles to make as little trash as possible in hopes of making a greater impact. However, how do we get all this garbage in the first place?

Over the past 50 years we have used 20 times more plastic because it is typical for everything to come packaged and only have a single use. According to an article published on National Geographic written by Laura Parker, about 40 percent of all plastic produced is packaging. In America the average person purchased 346 plastic bottles in the year of 2015. Due to this plastic over 100,000 marine creatures and 1 million sea birds die every year. However, we don’t think about this in our day to day lives and ignore the little things we could be doing to save our planet. 

We are polluting our water, air and even land. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a gyre in the North Central Pacific Ocean that has collected an enormous amount of plastic and floating trash. To clean the patch entirely would cost between $122 million and $489 million for a year. “Why isn’t no one funding for this?” one might ask. This is where Boyant Slant comes into the picture. Boyant Slant is the founder of The Ocean Clean Up which is a non-profit organization that engineers advanced technology to remove waste from the world’s oceans. Boyant isn’t the only person finding new popular ways to make a difference.

Bea Jhonson founded the Zero Waste Lifestyle Movement and changed the lives of thousands with her book Zero Waste. Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource cycles so that all products can be reused. On December 13,2016, popular internet media source, Buzzfeed uploaded a video titled I Tried to Make Zero trash For Thirty Days onto their main channel. In this video Buzzfeed producer Auri Jackson attempted to go out of her way to make absolutely no trash. Auri stated “whenever I hear about where the environment is going, I get really scared and it makes me feel very powerless.” However, Auri is not the only person experiencing these feelings.

 When first starting to live a zero-waste lifestyle many individuals encourage you to start with the little things. For example, bringing your own bottles, bags, and even cutlery with you when you go out. Many stores are even encouraging you bring your own bags and even offer a discount if you do. Buluh is a company that sells reusable straws made of bamboo to avoid the use of plastic straws. These alternatives are the most popular and most used today.

Everyone needs to act upon these issues and take responsibility for our actions. One person didn’t put pounds of trash in the ocean. We all contributed to this which makes it our responsibility to act and fix it. Earth is all we have ever known, and we are damaging it unconsciously by polluting it in every aspect possible. We aren’t too far away from the Disney movie Wall-E. If we can learn to manage our time why can’t we learn to manage our waste?