Thanks to “Big Oil” and “Big Soda” Human Reliance on Plastic Is Killing Us and The Planet. What Can Be Done?

By B.N. Frank

The first time I saw one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential candidate TV ads, I immediately noticed the plastic water bottle at the podium where he was speaking.  I was mortified!  After all – he’s supposed to care about the environment.  So why is he drinking from a single use plastic water bottle?

So yeah – I’m extremely concerned about plastic and I know I’m not alone.  There are so many reports about how drastically reducing its production and use is essential to the health of our planet and all inhabitants.  At the same time – humans have become so freaking reliant on it.  Bernie with the single-use water bottle is one of countless examples.  We can’t condemn him for this.  Maybe he was thirsty and forgot his re-usable water bottle.

We also can’t condemn the countless people who rely on single-use grocery store plastic bags for their trash because they can’t afford to buy garbage bags which are also almost always made of plastic.  Everything medically-related seems to be wrapped in plastic, too, in order to keep it sterile.  Diapers for babies and incontinent adults are also usually made of plastic too.  Again – we’ve become very reliant on plastic.

Thanks to Rolling Stone for providing more information about what we can do to at least help reduce our plastic problems.

Every human on Earth is ingesting nearly 2,000 particles of plastic a week. These tiny pieces enter our unwitting bodies from tap water, food, and even the air, according to an alarming academic study sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, dosing us with five grams of plastics, many cut with chemicals linked to cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental delays. Since the paper’s publication last year, Sen. Tom Udall, a plain-spoken New Mexico Democrat with a fondness for white cowboy hats and turquoise bolo ties, has been trumpeting the risk: “We are consuming a credit card’s worth of plastic each week,” Udall says. At events with constituents, he will brandish a Visa from his wallet and declare, “You’re eating this, folks!”

With new legislation, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020, Udall is attempting to marshal Washington into a confrontation with the plastics industry, and to force companies that profit from plastics to take accountability for the waste they create. Unveiled in February, the bill would ban many single-use plastics and force corporations to finance “end of life” programs to keep plastic out of the environment. “We’re going back to that principle,” the senator tells Rolling Stone. “The polluter pays.”

The battle pits Udall and his allies in Congress against some of the most powerful corporate interests on the planet, including the oil majors and chemical giants that produce the building blocks for our modern plastic world — think Exxon, Dow, and Shell — and consumer giants like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Unilever that package their products in the stuff. Big Plastic isn’t a single entity. It’s more like a corporate supergroup: Big Oil meets Big Soda — with a puff of Big Tobacco, responsible for trillions of plastic cigarette butts in the environment every year. And it combines the lobbying and public-relations might of all three.

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Image: Pixabay

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