Elissa Blankenship

Online Reporter

Certain restaurant chains have ceased using plastic straws due to city-wide legislation movements, and others plan to take the initiative to a national basis. The mission? Save the environments.

Company executives in cities such as Seattle and Edmonds have banned the use of straws and other plastic utensils. The ban in Seattle was effective on July 1, 2018 according to seattle.gov. Seattle has also banned plastic carryout shopping bags, effective on July 1, 2017. The goal is to prevent contamination of marine, freshwater, and land environments from plastic waste. Videos have surfaced on the internet of plastic straws lodged in turtle nostrils, creating a movement to save turtles and other marine life from plastic pollution. Inspired by this movement, some companies like Starbucks have pledged to cut the use of plastic straws by 2020.

“In 2015, Jenna Jambeck, a University of Georgia engineering professor, caught everyone’s attention with a rough estimate: between 5.3 million and 14 million tons [of plastic] each year [comes] just from coastal regions. Most of it isn’t thrown off ships, she and her colleagues say, but is dumped carelessly on land or in rivers,” wrote Laura Parker, a staff writer for National Geographic’s website.

Most plastic materials are not biodegradable, meaning their one-use purpose continues to hurt the nearby environments after they are thrown out. Plastic releases toxins into the environment that can harm wildlife and run downstream due to rain runoff. Plastic and Styrofoam fragments are found to be ingested in multiple species of marine and animal life, which can be fatal, according to www.environmentwashington.org. There are environmental conservation campaigns about the effects of our plastic waste, some are seen in news media. Plastic material, although hazardous to environmental health, plays a cheap part in our manufacturing processes for cars and packaged goods.

Environmentalists in large cities have been taking precautionary measures to help the degrading environments. The question is, what can local consumers do to prevent environmental harm in Puyallup or neighboring cities? While plastic materials have not been banned in Puyallup and some neighboring cities, there are other ways to make a difference. Begin making changes in your community by picking up plastic waste or refusing to use plastic utensils and straws. Try recycling if you just can’t cut plastic from your modern life. Use metallic cups, reusable or compliant straws and grocery store nylon bags or biodegradable paper bags when shopping.

These changes can help the polluted earth by reducing, reusing and recycling plastic products. Add every other disposable plastic utensil into the equation, then think about the total effect on the planet.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Elissa Blankenship

Plastic utensil ban-wagon

by Elissa Blankenship time to read: 2 min