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January 2022

Our Plastic World

Replaceable or Irreplaceable?

Screen Shot 2022-01-16 at 8.26.51 AMAnd I must believe that man has the power to know the right,
to choose between good and evil and know that his choice has made a difference...”
Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon


If we ban plastic, we would remove a lot of the negative effects of plastic on our natural environment; however, plastic is often indispensable to our lives, so we need to consider if the plastic can be replaced by something else or if that plastic item is “irreplaceable.”

Many people believe plastic bags should be banned, in order to protect Earth’s environment. However, plastic does not have an effect as much as paper bags do on the environment. According to a study at Columbia University, as a result of the heavy use of toxic chemicals in the process, paper is responsible for 70 times more air pollution and 50 times more water pollution than plastic bag production according to a Washington Post analysis, resulting in more toxicity to humans and the environment than HDPE bags. According to a recent study,, in order for paper bags to reduce the same amount of environmental pollution as the plastic bags did. Everybody would need to keep their paper bag for a year and keep using them. If people actually did that, paper bags would definitely be more beneficial than plastic ones. [1]

Some plastic, however, is useful and good, and perhaps essential to modern living. Plastic is either replaceable or irreplaceable. Things that are replaceable include plastic bags, plastic water-bottles, plastic straws and plastic toothbrushes are all replaceable.[2] We can use paper bags, metal water-bottles, paper straws, and bamboo handles on toothbrushes. Those are all beneficial to our environment. However, safety-seats, airbags on automobiles and bicycle helmets cannot be replaced by other materials than plastic.  

Plastic should not be banned from our lives since it still plays a vital role in keeping our lives convenient and safe. However, we should always pay attention to whether or not that plastic is replaceable or irreplaceable.

Sources:

  1. https://awareimpact.com/20-plastic-items-you-need-to-stop-using-today/
  2. https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/plastics/