A Discussion on the Relation Between Campuses and the Demand for Plastic Products

In this essay, plastic and ways to make college campuses less plastic orientated are discussed. First off, college campuses bring in a lot of people to a town or city, therefore, creating more demand for plastic products. College campuses typically have fast food places, which students use and buy plastic products from which are typically thrown away. Today, Americans discard about 33.6 million tons of plastic each year; but only 6.5 percent of it is recycled and 7.7 percent is combusted in waste-to-energy facilities. This is turn, creates electricity or heat from garbage. Using plastics are convenient and easy for students because they do not have to worry about carrying reusable containers around. However by, using reusable containers, cups, and bags the amount of plastic used could be dramatically reduced.This is further discussed as well as alternatives to plastics, and some tips that everyone could implicate into their lives. Lastly, it is talked  about where exactly all of the plastic goes.

Many college campuses include some standard environmentally friendly resources, such as recycling bins. College, and especially University campuses tend to bring in a lot of people; which consequently brings in a lot of waste. Eastern Michigan University alone has 21,000 people using their resources on campus. A lot of students use plastic cups as to go cups from fast food places on campus instead of tupperware or reusable to go cups from home -- because who asks the starbucks person to put their coffee in the to go cup they brought from home? It is easier for college students to just throw away the cup rather than worry about storing it and bringing it home.

Plastic and College Students

An article for the Boston College claimed that the average college student produces 640 pounds of waste per year, including 500 disposable cups. By cutting out disposable items alone, students would mostly be sacrificing plastics. The Boston College said that we throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour; think about how much plastic that actually is. The environmental impact that 25,000,000 bottles alone makes is crazy and not easy to comprehend. Eastern Michigan University has incorporated some eco-friendly resources around campus  such as, recycling bins and new energy conserving technology in buildings. These are all vital to the planet but it is also crucial for every individual student to learn the green way themselves.

Plastic Alternatives And Living With Less Plastic

According to the Environmental Green Tech, there are many alternatives to plastic such as glass, reusable bags, adding plastic additives (PDC), milk proteins or chicken feathers, liquid woods, PCL polyesters, PLA polyesters, and starch based polymers. Other substitutes could be glass or ceramic, cloth bags, and stainless steel products. According to an article, 10 Easy Tips For Living With Less Plastic, it’s pretty tough in this day and age to avoid contact with plastic completely. A lot of us, especially students who use a phone, drive a car, or work at a computer in our everyday lives, and all of these items tend to have lots of plastic in them. Avoid the worst common plastics; Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC #3), Polystyrene (PS #6), Polycarbonate (Other #7) are all very common and dangerous to living things and our environment. When going to a store, refuse plastic bags and bring reusable cloth bags with you and refuse all single-use disposable plastics! Avoid bottled water, try using a mug or a washable water bottle instead. Use non-plastic containers for food like ceramic or glass containers, that way nothing is going to waste. Avoid over packaged, processed, and frozen foods; although they may be convenient, avoiding these things also forces your to eat more fresh foods. According to lifewithoutplastic.com, if plastic packaging was eliminated there would be a lot less plastic pollution in the world and people would be a lot healthier.

What Happens To All That Plastic?

According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, global plastic consumption has gone from 5.5 million tons in the 1950s to 110 million tons in 2009.  Where does all this plastic go when we’re done with it? What would modern life be with out all of this plastic? According to Renee Cho of Columbia University, 6.5 percent of the 33.6 million tons of plastic is recycled each year, and 7.7 percent is combusted to create electricity. The rest ends up in leand fills and our oceans. It is estimated that there are 100 million tons of plastic debris floating around the oceans,which is so threatening to the safety of our marine life. It has been said that if we keep on this track, in less than a decade there will be the same amount of plastic as there are fish in the ocean. It is said that plastic isn’t recycled as much because there are so many types of plastic with different chemicals and items can be contaminated by mixing types.

Reference Page 

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