Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dominica Expedition: Plastic and the three R's

Plastic is everywhere. Have you ever kept a journal of how much plastic you use in a day? An hour? We buy liquids and snacks wrapped in plastic and then wrap it in plastic once more before leaving the store.

Then we throw away our plastic into a plastic garbage bag within a bin usually made out of plastic. It could end up in a landfill or it could make its way to the ocean and end up swirling in one of the many giant gyres of plastic that exist in the ocean. Here in Dominica, while scouting for marine life, you find plastic bottles floating the the ocean. New England Aquarium explorers have found plastic waste in Indonesia, the Bahamas and Fiji. It's a powerful reminder of the importance of action.

And there are three R's are often mentioned in passing but they hold so much value to this global epidemic:

Reduce
Use less. Do you really need a straw? Can you buy your items in bulk? Can you purchase items that do not contain several layers of plastic between you and the item you wish to eat? Check out the isles of a grocery store in Dominica - I was impressed with the reduction in packaging for most of their items:



Reuse
Buying something once and not disposing of it. Have you ever washed a plastic fork? It works pretty well the second time, and the third time too! Dominica has some innovate ways to reuse their plastic bottles:



Recycle
When you haven't reduced and cannot reuse then perhaps you can recycle. Have you ever supported the companies that make products from recycled plastic? Unfortunately Dominica does not have a recycling program in place. All the more reason we shouldn't take our recycling program for granted.

Good luck with your three R's!

-Megan

4 comments:

  1. In my humble opinion, the three R's are REDUCE, REDUCE, REDUCE! Thanks for writing about plastic Megan. Alas, plastic and plastic pollution seem to be the cultural norm...everywhere!

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  2. So much plastic! Makes you wonder how our ancestors survived without it.

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