Single Use Plastics
For the sake of convenience, even unnecessary convenience, we have accepted single use plastics as part of our daily lives. Plastic straws are automatically brought in nearly all drinks at a restaurant. Every liquid sold is typically in a plastic bottle. We involuntarily put produce in little plastic bags only to have the grocer put those in another plastic bag at the check out. Our pet food is in plastic. Our own food it in plastic. Most plastic isn’t recycled and some isn’t even recyclable. What are we to do? Be fantastic, cut out plastic.
We need to be mindful of what we have accepted through habit. We need to start thinking of what impact billions of people using and discarding single-use plastics are having on animals, ecosystems, and on ourselves.
With so many reusable alternatives to plastic bags, people need to be thoughtful before automatically putting purchased items in plastic bags. Ask yourself when buying just a couple of items, “Do I really need a bag?”
Make a statement with an attractive reusable bag like those available at the Niabi Zoo Gift Shop. Bring your own bags with you and make it a routine so as to always remember them. As a last resort, you can ask for a paper bag as they are typically made from recycled paper and are biodegradable.
It is estimated that 4 trillion cigarette butts are tossed as litter each year. The butt of a cigarette has a filter that is composed of plastic. This filter does not biodegrade. Instead, it will eventually break down into microplastics which harms animal life and as it has entered the food chain, ends up the the food humans eat. While people may choose to smoke regardless of their personal health concerns, smokers should be more responsible for the disposal of cigarette butts as they impact other people’s health and entire ecosystems.
Is this recyclable?
Niabi Zoo offers public recycling drop off in its parking lot to encourage guests and local residents to bring their home recycling to the Zoo. It is a single stream/mixed recycling container so recyclable materials can go in without sorting. We welcome guests to use the flyer below to identify what is recyclable.
While recycling is a way to be more sustainable, do you think it is really the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint? Can you justify buying plastic because it is recyclable? The fact is, only 9% of plastic is recycled and many plastics produced, even if they have the recycle label, cannot be recycled. We should still encourage people to recycle more effectively. Many other items can be recycled but we should consider recycling as a last resort after reducing our use of disposable items, reusing items rather than buying new, and rethinking our desire for convenience over our actual need.