Since the industrial revolution, human pollution has been on the rise. The creation of large factories has caused the levels of pollution to be able to rise exponentially. Since then, we have only been polluting and corrupting our world more and more each year. The amount of pollution in our world is still rising to this day. We all must do our part to reduce our carbon footprints and create a cleaner, longer lasting world for the next generations. Everyone must contribute to the cause, even large companies and corporations.

Plastic is one of the most common packaging materials. Many bottles and containers are all made of plastic. Water bottles are a very common example of this. They also cause a lot of plastic waste for the environment. Globally, around 1.5 billion water bottles are used each day. This is very bad for the environment. For one, plastic is not very biodegradable. It can take 1,000 years for the plastic we put in landfills, which is where most of it ends up, to degrade. Through a process called chemical leaching, toxins from the plastic can leak out into the area around, rather it be soil or water. This can have a very adverse effect on the organisms in the area. The additives in plastic can cause many health concerns on organisms. These include hormone changes and inflammation. The smallest of plastic particles can even cross cell membranes in our bodies. If this happens, the plastic can cause gene expressions to change in our cells. While we haven’t fully looked into this topic, nanoplastics have been shown to cause changes in the behaviors of fish. This means that plastics do have a very negative affect on life, and can even affect humans. Many marine animals also mistake plastic in the water as their food, such as turtles eating plastic bags, thinking they’re jellyfish. This can suffocate the animals, killing them. Microplastics can also enter the food chain. Research has found tiny pieces of plastic in seafood, beer, and salt to name a few examples. The long term effects of plastic in the food chain is relatively unknown, but it can’t be good. The production of most plastics requires the use of many fossil fuels, such as coal. This leads to the release of greenhouse gases, causing even more climate change. The great pacific garbage patch, one of the most known examples of plastic pollution, is a large plastic mass in the ocean the size of texas. It is made up of just random junk that we humans have discarded. This land mass will continue to grow in size unless we do something about it.

So why should companies care about going green and using more environmentally friendly options for packaging? Its because at the heart of every single company, from small family owned businesses to worldwide massive corporations, is people. People run these companies and what they produce. These people also have to share the same planet as us, and their kids will inherit the same exact planet as ours will. We all share the earth together, even if you’re a rich business person, or a poor homeless one, the environment around us affects all of us. Cleaning the earth and ditching harmful plastic packaging is in everyone’s best interest. At the end of the day, we are all people on the same planet. No matter who you are, it is for the best that you take care of your home. Nobody in their life has intentionally destroyed their own house. Rather we all have tried to maintain a clean one. The same should go for the Earth. If a company does not care about the earth however, ditching plastic is still in their best interest. Plastic is not the cheapest material. One pound of plastic costs around 38 cents. That is a pretty high amount for any company, just for packaging. Many companies have already noticed this. Modern water bottles vary greatly in shape from older models. This is to save in the amount of plastic used in production. This in turn saves the company money. If a company doesn’t care about going green, they should definitely care about the green they can save.

Essay by: John Emilio Fowles
Martin Luther King Jr. High School

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