During the Covid-19 pandemic the usage of single-use plastic increased drastically worldwide, as many have seen at McDaniel College. The reliability of single-use plastic increased during Covid-19 to promote sanitary practices. However, single use plastic is dangerous to the world’s ecosystems. Species and environments can’t break down plastics, leading plastics to pollute the world and take over 1,000 years to break down.
In 2020 and 2021, McDaniel College promoted the usage of single use plastic in their eateries by having students use one plastic container per food option. This caused students to use more plastic containers and utensils than what was necessary. Plastic waste at McDaniel College is worse than it needs to be, there are ways to lower plastic waste on campus but as plastic is a cheap option, they decided to keep plastic as a popular option for food carry out.
Not having ways to recycle on campus makes it harder for students to find easy ways to lower their footprint on the environment. Maryland has been passing legislation to reduce plastic waste in the state. Plastic bags have been banned in all stores and now many stores require you to pay for paper bags to promote the use of reusable bags.. The Maryland General Assembly has passed a House bill-135 named Environmental Single-use Plastics Restriction, this bill limits how much single-use plastics food services can give out including beverage products and takeout containers.
There are a ton of plastic alternatives that are more environmentally friendly than traditional plastic, bamboo products have taken off in the past couple of years because bamboo grows faster than normal wood and is one of the most robust materials on the planet. Plant-based plastic products are also a great way not to have to give up plastic but are a better option for the environment.
The United Nations are responding to pollution in the environment by setting strict goals to reach by 2035 by cutting plastic waste and pollution in the ocean, reducing coal mining and switching to renewable sources of energy like solar panels and wind power. They are also fining countries that are not following laws and regulations that reduce pollution.
Ways we can all help reduce plastic waste are by educating ourselves on how plastic waste affects the environment, being aware of how much plastic we use daily and considering buying plastic alternatives like bamboo, glass and plant-based products.
Reducing the amount of plastic each person uses daily can make a huge change on how much plastic pollution happens daily and slow pollution all around the world.