Breaking the Cycle of Plastic Waste

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A small group of students from Ecole Secondaire Cochrane High School have created an organization called ‘Ecociety’. Mine name is Abby DeJoseph. I’m a member of this group along with two other environmentalists, Leah Maynard and Aleisha Graham.

Our mission is to shift the mindset of people by educating everyone about the effects of plastic pollution, and how we can all ‘break the cycle’. Ecociety promotes recycling, limiting waste, and using eco-friendly products to combat climate change, including the harmful effects of plastic in our environment.

Breaking the ‘cycle’ refers to the cycle of plastic waste. Since plastic products or packaging can take from 10 to 1000 years to biodegrade, plastic follows a path that can travel around the world via water cycles.

The cycle begins by throwing a plastic water bottle into the trash. The bottle will get passed around until it gets transported to a landfill. Trash in our landfills will often be taken to a large body of water by rain, rivers, and streams. The plastic bottle is now in a large lake or ocean, if no animal has consumed the bottle yet. If someone puts the bottle back into the trash, it will continue this constant cycle, however, if the plastic is recycled or repurposed we can prevent this cycle from proceeding.

Many people might wonder why it is even important to be making changes in our everyday lives to fix issues that we are not experiencing for ourselves. The effects of climate change and plastic pollution could seem minuscule at the moment, but will affect people worldwide in the future.

Greenhouse gases are produced by the energy consumption from plastic manufacturing or processing. In Canada, the hottest years ever recorded have been the last five years on average due to climate change and greenhouse gasses (National Post).
Over 700 marine species are threatened or endangered by microplastics in the oceans. One study found that the North Pacific ingests more than 24,000 tons of plastic every year (The New York Times). Plastic can be convenient to use, but detrimental to the health of our planet.

When plastic gets put into the trash, it will most likely never go away in our lifetimes. This is why it is extremely important to look at the types of plastics and materials you are recycling so that our town can make a significant impact on our environment.

Cochrane has the power to attempt and conserve the beautiful nature in Northern Ontario and around the world.

Together we can break the cycle.

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