She wasted no time in assembling the team. They set to work creating a comprehensive plan to address the flood of plastic trash and to slow the spread of microplastic particles in our water, the soil and in the very food we eat. Then Polly called a press conference on the Iowa County Courthouse steps and introduced the first speaker, Donna Bye-It.
“Folks, the least polluting plastic is the plastic that is never made in the first place. Before you put the next plastic item in your shopping cart, pause to consider if it’s something you actually need. Is there a more eco-friendly alternative? Manufacturers will response to your purchasing choices.”
Next, Ray Purrpuss reminded the crowd that many products are designed to be used only once and then tossed. You know the ones – cups & plates, utensils, containers and bags. “Yikes! - too much trash!” he cautioned. “Look for ways to use that item a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time.
“Then of course, if you do have an item to discard, check the bottom for the recycle symbol. If it matches the types of plastic your trash / recycling provider can handle, drop it in the recycle bin,” Reice Eyecle advised. “But don’t fall for the ‘I can buy and throw away plastic willy-nilly because it’ll all get recycled anyway’ trap. Our recycling system is far from perfect. Less than 10% of the plastic in the U.S. actually gets remade into new products.”
Cy Eince wrapped-up the event with some encouraging news. “My colleagues and I have discovered that the tiny waxworm grub likes to chow down on plastic trash. And there’s a strain of bacteria that chews up polyurethane and breaks apart its harmful compounds. We’re looking for ways to put these critters to use on a large scale.
“But this isn’t a silver bullet that will solve the plastic problem. It’s going to take all of us doing our part to clean up our only home where we’re all forever… Earthbound.”