Marie Claire - US
Is It Possible To Live Trash free Image Credit: Marie Claire - US
Is It Possible To Live Trash free Image Credit: Marie Claire - US

Is It Possible To Live Trash-free?

The planet is in peril, and plastics are a major problem. Now there’s an entire movement dedicated to changing our habits before it’s too late. But how much good can an individual really do? Marie Claire investigates.

Cady Drell

There’s a scene in The Graduate when Mr. McGuire tells Benjamin, “I want to say one word to you…plastics. There’s a great future in plastics.” I’ve been thinking about that line a lot lately because even though the film came out in 1967 and much about it doesn’t exactly hold up in 2019, nearly all of the plastics made that year (and, in fact, since 1950) are still hanging out in landfills. They’ll potentially be there for another several hundred years. Plastic was supposed to make our lives easier, but now it’s clogging our oceans (one study says that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the water than fish) and littering our streets and parks. The production of it is increasing carbon emissions by the ratio of about one ounce of CO 2 to one ounce of plastic. Annually, emissions from plastic production alone can equal close to half of the emissions generated by the approximately 200 million licensed drivers in the U.S. You can try to recycle it, but 91 percent of all plastics aren’t recycled, instead of getting either trashed or incinerated, according to a 2016 study. And, perhaps because they’re made from fossil fuels, they receive huge government subsidies, which might explain why plastic production is expected to account for 20 percent of global oil consumption by 2050. Plastic bags have even been found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the deepest point on Earth. More than lite


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