I think one of the more annoying things I’ve come to have knowledge about is the amount people who use plastic forks and spoons everyday and by every day I mean every day. On a regular basis people waste the money to buy the gas that they will then use to waste money to waste the environment instead of buying a pack of silverware ONCE and just washing them by hand or via dish washer. Plastic use is very hard to avoid, however using plastic cutlery isn’t a necessity. According to the EPA, 12 percent of the solid waste stream is plastic. Out of the 31 million tons of plastic produced last year, only 2.4 million tons were recycled. Approximately 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the USA alone, together with billions of Styrofoam and plastic cups, plates etc. Plastic bags could take up to one million years to decompose and a Styrofoam box could take more than one million years to decompose.
If one doesn’t care about the environment then they should give their health a thought.
Polyvinyl Chloride( #3)- This plastic is used mostly in construction and consumer goods, but the Center for Health, Environment and Justice and the Environmental Health Strategy Center have asked companies to limit their use of this plastic. It has serious side effects for its use. It’s made out of highly polluting and cancer-causing chemicals that have contaminated the areas where PVC is manufactured. Some PVC is made out of plasticizers that will leach out of finished products and have been known to cause developmental and reproductive damage. When PVC is burned it leads to emission of dioxins that cause cancer, reproductive, developmental and immune problems. Putting these materials in landfills can cause the toxic substances to leach into ground water. PVC is difficult to recycle and contaminates other kinds of plastics when recycled with them.
Over 7 billion pounds of PVC are thrown away in the U.S. each year. Only 18 million pounds of that, about one quarter of 1 percent, is recycled.3
Polystyrene (#6)- This plastic is used to make foam food trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, opaque plastic cutlery and other disposable food service items. The chemicals used to make this plastic can leak into food and beverages. According to the EPA, extreme levels can cause nervous systems effects such as loss of concentration, weakness, and nausea. Long term exposure can cause cancer, liver and nerve damage.
Polycarbonates and Others (#7): Number 7 plastics are the rejects from all the other categories, but they all usually include one thing and that’s polycarbonates. Polycarbonates are used in plastic baby bottles, plastic liners of metal food cans, sport water bottles and other items. Bisphenol- A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupter that used in making polycarbonates. A recent review of studies regarding BPA’s effects (Environmental Health Perspectives, August 2005) finds that more than 80 percent of published studies assessing the effects of low-dose BPA exposure on laboratory animals found significant effects, including alterations to brain chemistry and structure, behavior, the immune system, and male and female reproductive systems.
Just something to think about