What can we do?

We use plastics daily, often without any thought of their impact on our environment. True change can only occur if we alter our individual and collective behaviours. In this section, we look at plastic alternatives and strategies to reduce plastic usage. And we'll show you a Sustainability Conference at Sheridan's Hazel McCallion campus aimed at spreading the word about the need for change.

Building Awareness

To emphasize how much plastic the average person uses, we created a “plastic monster”  – wrapping a student in a costume compiling 272 plastic bags. That’s the amount the average Canadian uses in one year. We went around Sheridan’s Trafalgar campus showing people what 272 plastic bags look like – asking people what their impression was and how they might change their behavior.

Photos by Andrew Goulart

Photos by Andrew Goulart

 

Here at Sheridan College, sustainability is a priority for faculty and students, and, to reflect that, the Green Initiative Conference was held at Sheridan’s Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga. The conference, headed by Timothy Nash, Wai Chu Cheng, and the Green Teamaimed to educate students on the severity of climate change, and to promote critical thinking and action. Learn more by watching the video below.

 

 

When plastics first arrived on the scene in the 1930s, they seemed ideal for a wide variety of applications. They were cheap and convenient. Now, however, environmental and health concerns have led to a backlash against this ubiquitous product. So – what can you do? Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Those three words are often spoken, but the reality is that most concentrate on the “recycle” part, rather than reduction and reuse. Such simple acts as purchasing a single water bottle or coffee mug and using them over time can dramatically reduce one person’s footprint. Multiply that by a neighborhood, a campus, a city and we’re getting somewhere. You can also volunteer at cleanup opportunities such as Save our Shores, use reusable water bottles instead of disposables, and be mindful of the products that you purchase.

 

Rising

 

Non-plastic products are becoming more accessible each and every day. For some practical ideas on reducing how much plastic you use,
the Thinglink below provides a list of alternative materials that are ecofriendly.

 

Sources for Thinglink: http://www.greenhome.com/blog/alternatives-to-plastic

Sources for Thinglink: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/biodegradable-items-can-replace-plastic-78506.html

Conclusion

We know what the problem is. It’s in our landfills. It’s in our oceans. It’s in our DNA. Our goal with this interactive, data-driven website is to educate the reader about the global obsession with plastic, and its very real dangers. It’s going to take much more than world leaders jetting to conferences in order to slow and hopefully reverse the damage we’ve done to this third rock from the sun. The Ocean Conservancy Project calculates we could solve many of our oceanic plastic issues if the top industrialized countries could improve their waste management by 50 percent. This could reduce the amounts of plastics that enter our oceans by just under half. Imagine that. Just by reducing our plastic usage, and throwing the plastics we *do* use in the correct place, we could almost halve the amount of dangerous polymers that end up in the sea. Is it possible? Yes. But it’s up to us. Thankfully in Canada, many of our regions have government-led recycling programs, which encourage people to divert recyclable material. By having designated bins and pick up days alongside trash collection, it’s easier than ever to throw your plastics into the blue bin.

 

At this point, it’s a no-brainer.

You’ve seen the facts, now be a part of the solution.