As we all know, the amount of trash being produced is a serious problem. All over the world, trash is being dumped anywhere where it can be out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Not only is it an eye-sore but it’s causing environmental problems. It’s a major pollution contributor and it’s harming wildlife. Also, the chemicals involved in the production of plastic is becoming a health issue as well. Companies need to adopt environmentally friendly packing in order to keep our Earth clean, keep us healthy, and to protect the wildlife. Most of our trash ends up in places like landfills, beaches, and the ocean. It’s caused by companies dumping their waste there but it’s also because people treat the Earth like one giant trash can. Once they are done with their soda can or their gum wrapper, they just dump it onto the ground without a single ounce of respect for their community or their planet. And because one person decides that it’s okay, everyone else does too. And before you know it, you have piles and piles of trash collecting in every corner of the Earth.

Everyday, the average person produces about 5 pounds of trash. If you added up the amount of trash produced for on year in the United States alone, that’s about 1.7 billion pounds of trash. That’s a lot of trash, I can’t imagine how much the whole world produces. Most of the trash humans produce is from product packaging produced by companies. Most companies make their packaging out of plastic because it’s easy and cheap to produce. But plastic takes years to breakdown naturally and when they do, their harmful chemicals seep into the water or the soil that’s not only harmful to the environment but to us. If the plastic packaging is breaking down near a water source, then those chemicals will eventually seep into the water which will end up back to us when we buy our next bottle of water. There have been studies that have shown that people have gotten sick from the chemicals in plastics that have contaminated the water. If companies stopped producing plastic packaging then it will reduce the risk of chemically contaminated water.

When plastic sits out in the sun for too long, it will start to crack and break up into tiny little pieces. Then the wind will sweep up the tiny pieces into the nearby ocean or lake. The wildlife living in that ecosystem will digest the tiny particles which will cause harm to them because they won’t be able to digest it properly and it will cause them to feel full and they won’t feel the need to eat. If they don’t eat, then they will die, which will cause a decrease in reproduction. If the plastic never leaves the fish’s system, then fishers could catch those fish and sell them to restaurants and markets for people to buy and eat. And I don’t think anyone would be too thrilled by the thought of eating a fish full of tiny pieces of plastic.

Companies should produce packaging that is recyclable and won’t cause any environmental damage if it does end up in a landfill. There have already been a couple companies, like Newlight Technologies and AirCarbon, who have started producing plastic that dissolves in water in order to reduce the amount of waste humans produce and the protect our wildlife. If they can adopt an environmentally safe packaging then any company can. We only have one Earth. We need to treat it as well as it treats us.

Essay by: Kierstyn Schmid
Sunnyslope High School

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