Plastic is ubiquitous. In fact, enough plastic is thrown away globally each year to wrap around the earth four times! Part of the challenge of managing plastic pollution is how long it takes to erode. Most plastics remain intact for decades or even centuries after disposal, and those that manage to break down into microscopic pieces often get consumed by wildlife, thus moving its way up the global food chain.
Meanwhile, in Weston
In Weston, users of the Transfer Station recycle 55 tons of plastic each year. Not only does this yield environmental benefits, but it saves the Town thousands of dollars annually. Our Transfer Station offers recycling of plastics, even bulky and rigid, to help curb the amount of plastic that ends up in a landfill or an incinerator. Taking this positive action even further, the Weston High School Students for Environmental Action Club, led by Max Tomczak, recently sought out an opportunity to end plastic pollution in Weston by coordinating with community leaders to collect plastic bags. This team of youth leaders collected more than 500 pounds of plastic bags in Town, securing a grant to commission a bench made from their collection of plastic bags. The amount of interest gained by this pilot points to the need for more lasting solutions to manage the plastic waste produced by this community.
Reducing Plastic Consumption
While recycling and reuse of plastics are key to tackling the plastic problem, we cannot forget about reducing our usage of plastic altogether. The Town of Weston invites you to take part in "Plastic-Free July," a global challenge that spans 177 countries and is championed by hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
Why should we reduce our plastic consumption? Much of our solid waste in Weston ends up in incinerators and plastics that are burned pollute the air we breathe due to the release of dioxins and heavy metals. Further, 27 million barrels of oil are used for plastic production each year around the world. The average plastic bag is used for 12 minutes, but can take hundreds of years to break down. On top of that, the vast majority of plastics used around the world are single-use, and many aren’t even recycled at all. Reducing plastic usage wherever possible is an important step for cleaning up our natural environment.
The Town’s new Climate Action and Resilience Plan, Weston Ahead, details goals to reduce the waste generation per household, and to increase the diversion rate (tons of material recycled). Weston residents can help move Weston Ahead and curb the use of plastics all-together by championing the Plastic-Free July through numerous different actions. Check out the Plastic Free Action Picker (PDF) to start somewhere.
What actions will you commit to? You’ll find it gets easier the more you act.