What is plastic? Most people have no idea what it actually is. Many explain how it’s used but not its ingredients. According to Americanchemistry.com plastic is actually a material composed of various elements like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. This medium is used everywhere in today’s society. Whether it be bicycle helmets, car airbags, or food containers. In the United States, each person wastes 110 pounds of single-use plastic on average. The obvious answer to this problem is recycling but most of this plastic never gets recycled. The majority are sent to landfills where they can sit for up to 600 years. Unlike many other materials, plastic takes a long time to decompose. Some plastics like grocery bags can take 20 years while styrofoam can take 500 years. Even if these plastics decompose they leach toxins into the soil in the process. Landfills also release toxic gasses,  contaminate water, and bring bugs, extra noise, and smoke. Plastic is, if I’m being completely honest, one of man’s worst yet best inventions that our world will be dealing with for centuries. 

 

Now that you know the results of plastic just imagine the amount of plastic we use at school daily. Whether it be the styrofoam trays, plastic utensils, or the plastic containers that carry salad, there is no shortage at our school. As I previously said the obvious answer is to recycle but would introducing a recycling bin really solve our issue? Most students would use the recycling bin as another trash can or do not know how to recycle properly. Also, styrofoam cannot be recycled so what would we really be recycling? One of the only solutions to reduce our plastic is to introduce reusable trays. Although there would be a bigger upfront cost it would eventually pay off due to no longer paying for styrofoam trays. This would cause our plastic waste to be drastically reduced creating a healthier environment for our community.