Educate our Children Plastic Knowledge

Should single use plastic be banned?

June 18, 2020
SingleUse plastic spoon on the beach

by Beth Rudge

Most of us reading this blog will already be aware of the dangers that widespread plastic use has on our environment and our health. But how to really modify the habits of a nation can be quite a worry. How to tackle it and enact change? If we want to see a widespread shift in the culture of plastic use, lets build this from the ground up. Lets build the next generation of young people who really care. We recently read this wonderful essay, sent to us by Beth Rudge, a 12 year old Year 7 pupil at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School. Discussing the question ‘should single use plastic be banned?’, it provides an insight into what the thoughts are on some of the up and coming generation of awakened minds.

Should single use plastic be banned? By Beth Rudge, aged 12.

A straw, a sweet wrapper or a plastic bag all seem harmless every day items. They are helpful items used for convenience and then thrown away.

However, is there an environmental price to pay for convenience?.

For many years plastic has impacted wildlife, but we are now more aware of it’s impact on the oceans and on our health.

The Pro’s

Plastics are thought to be lighter, stronger, durable and more affordable than the alternatives.

When milk bottles were made out of glass, they were returned to the milk man to be cleaned and refilled. In the 1950/60s, plastic replaced glass milk bottles as shoppers bought their shopping in supermarkets which was more convenient.

Plastic straws help people with disabilities, there are also metal straws – but they may cost more and might be more difficult to clean.

Many single use items are essential to prevent cross contamination or/and infection.

Surgical gloves are an essential single use plastic during Covid-19.

Single use plastic bags were introduced in America in the 1970s to reduce the amount of trees being cut down to produce paper bags.

The Cons

Although we all recycle regularly, over 90% of plastic isn’t recycled at all and it ends up in landfill or dumped in the environment.

Single use plastic items, such as straws, bags and cutlery are hard to recycle. While cardboard and glass can be widely recycled, there are many types of plastic and this means not all can be recycled. For example flexible plastic cannot always be recycled.

More than this, plastic does not go away. It may however break up in to smaller pieces and turn in to micro-plastics. Micro-plastics end up in water, eaten by wildlife and could get inside us. The dangers from having plastic inside our bodies can be hormone imbalance, infertility and ever cancer.

In Conclusion

I think single use plastic should be partially banned. Non-essential single use plastic, eg, plastic bags, sweet wrappers, plastic lined coffee cups and food bags should be banned, while essential plastics like medical supplies, disability enablers- straws, should not be banned.

Thank you Beth! It is lovely to hear a well thought out and reasoned argument from someone so young. Lets hope those in charge of making policy and laws can hear us!

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