Plastic is forever

Did you know plastic never breaks down? The material, created from petroleum, even when recycled, still remains, and what doesn’t end up in landfills eventually ends up in the ocean.

Wikipedia tells us a 2017 study conducted by scientists from UC Santa Barbara, and University of Georgia, concluded of the 9.1 billion tons of plastic produced since 1950, close to 7 billion tons are no longer in use.

The authors estimate only 9% got recycled over the years, while 12% was incinerated, leaving 5.5 billion tons of plastic waste to litter the oceans or land.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (gyre), a huge mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Tips to help reduce plastic:

Instead of plastic water bottles, use a stainless-steel water bottle or travel mug. Wash it often to prevent bacteria collecting. Paper hot cups and soda cups have a plastic lining. One reusable water bottle can save 1,460 single-use bottles in a year. Plastic baggies usually get used once, then tossed. They never break down. Take a few seconds to wash in warm soapy water, rinse, turn a cuff, and set to dry on the counter for multiple reuse.

Instead of plastic bags for produce use washable mesh bags, easy to wash and reuse. Keep them with your reusable grocery bags. Store leftovers in dishes, cover with a plate on top. Canning jars, large and small, are an easy way to keep food, in the refrigerator or in a cupboard.

When you eat out, bring a glass container for your “doggy bag” or ask that leftovers be wrapped in foil. Styrofoam is another form of plastic that takes forever to break down. Encourage restaurants to use cardboard containers.

School just started. Put lunch items in reusable containers. Wrap sandwiches in waxed paper rather than saran wrap. Remind your children to bring all containers home, wash and reuse.

Don’t throw your plastic containers away, they will end up in the landfill or ocean. Repurpose them to hold paper clips, pencils, hair clips, rubber bands.

Dispose of pet litter in paper bags rather than in plastic.

Emadco’s Ashley Smith says, “Everyone is doing a great job recycling up here.” Please don’t overload your bins. The lids must close completely to prevent trash flying out when hoisted into the truck.

You’ve seen those folks in orange/yellow vests, grabbers in hand, picking up trash on the road.

Join us. Keep our Mountains Beautiful’s (KOMB) next clean-up day will held Sept. 17 along Road 274. North Fork residents meet at 7:30 a.m., at the Transfer Station, while Oakhurst and Coarsegold residents meet at 8 a.m., in The Pines parking lot at Bass Lake for assignment. Vests, grabbers and bags will be available for volunteers to use.

The next KOMB meeting will take place 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26at Round Table Pizza in Oakhurst.

Details: Sandee Scott (559)760-1058, or komb4emc@gmail.com.