Green vs. Plastic

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
In short: Go Green!

Submitted: November 07, 2011

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Submitted: November 07, 2011

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Green vs. Plastic

Imagine this- it’s May of 2009 and you’re minding your own business, just swimming around, when all of a sudden you get this horrible pain in your stomach.  You have no idea what’s going on, except for the fact that you’ve been feeling kind of strange for the last couple of days; but you have no idea why.  Anyway, the pain is so great that you can no longer move.  You let the tide carry you throughout the sea until finally, you get to shore.  You might think this is a good, thing, but the truth is, for you, it’s just the opposite.  You see, you are a Bryde (broodus) whale, and you are now beached. 

You sit there for a while, nobody knows just how long, until finally, animal rescue crews come to your aid.  You are still in terrible pain, but as you’re a whale, you have no way of telling these people what’s going on.  They pour water on you, but nothing helps.  You are hot, sun-baked, an over all, dying.  You moan and groan and thrash around, but nobody gets it.  Finally, they people understand you are in great pain, but they too don’t know why.  You cannot help yourself.  They cannot help you.  And eventually, you die.

After this Bryde whale died, researchers took it in to have it autopsied.  Their conclusion was simple:  this whale had died from consuming over 6 square meters of plastic.

As you may have figured out, I am not someone who goes around just using plastic bags willy-nilly and then throwing them away.  I am known in my family as the ‘green’ one and I try my best to be environmentally friendly.  My hope is that at the end of this speech, you will want to do the same and put that want into action.

My main focus of this speech is why you should- I take that back, why you need -to use green bags.  And my top 5 reasons for this need?  Because plastic bags kill animals, don’t decompose, green bags are more durable, and are manufactured cleaner and cheaper.

Reason number one: Plastic bags kill animals.  Many of you may have heard of the pacific trash vortex, and some of you might have not.  For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a giant land fill in the middle of the ocean.  I’m not going to go into the science of it, but trash from beaches and ships accumulate and end up floating with the currents that lead to the middle of the Pacific Ocean- right between Hawaii and California- and then just stays there.  As of right now, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is over twice the size of Texas. 

The Pacific Ocean is home to many, many sea animals; one of them being the whale I talked about earlier. That was a true story, and what makes it even worse is that this is an everyday thing, whether it is noticed or not.  Each year over 100,000 sea animals alone die due to trash pollution, specifically, eating things such as plastic bags.  The sea turtle eats a type jelly fish that is about a foot wide, kind of clear-ish, and floats with the currents. What else is about a foot wide, kind of clear-ish and floats with the currents?  Why a plastic bag, of corse!  The sea turtle commonly mistakes these plastic bags for jelly fish and eats them.The bags cannot be digested and eventually add up in the stomach and intestine.  When they do, real food can no longer pass through and ends up just sitting in the stomach, or what room is left in the stomach, making the animal feel full.  The animal then doesn’t eat, and ends up starving itself to death unwillingly. 

Another main problem animals have with plastic bags is that they commonly choke on them or get tangled in them.  There are countless stories of animals dying just because they made the fatal mistake of trying to eat a plastic bag, and end up choking themselves to death.  It is also way too common to see animals mutilated because they are tangled or caught in plastic.  Depending on the animal and where the plastic is, this can be fatal.  For example, birds that get them stuck on their wings can no longer fly which is their main way of life.

My second reason for not using plastic bags is because of how they decompose.  Most of you have probably heard that plastic never goes away, that it just stays there forever, bla bla bla. This is only kind of true.  In good conditions, plastic will start to decompose at about 1000 years into it’s horrible life.  But if you think about it, plastic hasn’t even been around for about 1000 years.  So if you can imagine all of the plastic ever created ever EVER, then that’s about how much is in our landfills…or in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But on top of that, it only takes 1000 years for good conditions, and landfills are definitely not what you would consider “good conditions”.  They are very bad conditions, and add about 100,000 years to the life of plastic.  It’s like plastic heaven, except it’s more like hell…  But even when the plastic does decompose, it leaves tiny toxic bits that pollute water and soil.

The green bag, however, is quite the opposite.  Most people choose to reuse it, but even if it does get thrown away, it decomposes almost immediately and is basically gone within 30 days.  It is all the way gone within the next couple months, leaving nothing behind.  At all.  Meaning no harmful toxins that will pollute water and soil.

Here is your fact of the day:  plastic bags take about 99 cents to make while green bags only take 17 cents. If you think of how the economy is doing right now, it wouldn’t be bad idea to try to save a few cents here and there.  If every plastic bag ever made was actually magically converted to green bags, the US alone would save about 82 million dollars a minute.  You may think that’s a lot-and it is- because we use about 10 million plastic bags in a single minute.  That adds up to over 300 trillion bags a year- 99.5% of them end up in landfills.

Aside from being environmentally friendly and cheaper- green bags are much stronger and can hold way more than a regular plastic bag can.  On top of that, a green bag is easier to hold and carry because of its design; even if you have twice as much stuff in it.  (green bag vs. plastic bag demonstration)


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