Most of the top things found in our beach clean up were plastic items. This got me thinking: While plastic items are super convenience and make our lives easier, they do have some repercussions you may not think of every day while you are using them. Unlike paper, wood, and organic matter, plastic never really biodegrades. What is does do, is slowly break down into tiny pieces, through sunlight decomposition called photodegradation.
” Of course, plastic buried in a landfill rarely sees the light of day. But in the ocean, which is where a lot of discarded grocery bags, soft drink bottles and six-pack rings end up, plastic is bathed in as much light as water. In 2009, researchers from Nihon University in Chiba, Japan, found that plastic in warm ocean water can degrade in as little as a year. This doesn’t sound so bad until you realize those small bits of plastic are toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer. These end up in the guts of animals or wash up on shorelines, where humans are most likely to come into direct contact with the toxins.” http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/how-long-does-it-take-for-plastics-to-biodegrade.htm
These tiny plastic pieces also cause animals to slowly starve to death- the pieces fill up their bellies and are unable to be digested. So not only do the plastic pieces kill animals, but it can poison some of the animals we eat!
You can make a difference, even just by making small choices like paper bags in the grocery store (most stores ask, or offer you options) or choosing items in the grocery store packaged in cardboard or paper instead of plastic. (pick up your OJ in a carton, instead of plastic jug!) I challenge you to make a small change today- you will feel good for trying to help!