How many times have you opened a package and had to dig through layers of plastic in order to get to the item you ordered? According to Plastic Oceans packaging makes up 40% of total plastic usage, each year five hundred million plastic bags are used world wide and more than one million are used every minute. Beverage bottles alone take up a great deal of plastic usage, in 2014, 100.7 billion plastic bottles were sold in the U.S. alone, accounting for 315 bottles for each person. Ten million tons of plastic are dumped into our world's oceans annually which is equivalent to more than a garbage truck load per minute and every year, one million marine animals are killed by this plastic pollution. Not only should we be concerned about the wildlife's involuntary consumption of plastic but even humans consume over forty pounds of plastic in their lifetime.

The tragic reality of plastic pollution that faces us is s grimming look at our future. It pains me to see the streets of my town riddled with garbage and most dangerously, plastic. And it’s not solely the United States that faces this issue, back in 2019 I traveled to Israel and the streets were cluttered with plastic and garbage at least ten times worse than it is in America.

The basis that many people stand on is to avoid littering, however that is an inevitability. which is why it is so beyond important to establish eco-friendly packaging. Eco-friendly packaging allows for companies to reduce the amount of waste from non-biodegradable products which in turn keeps harmful plastics out of the oceans and streets. As previously stated it is clear that litter is inevitable however if we start from the root of the problem and diminish the use of harmful plastic packaging products there is a greater chance of survival for our world’s wildlife. What most people don’t realize is that there are small companies that are trying to establish eco-friendly, sustainable packaging however the amount of funding to these companies is limited, making it very difficult to establish a strong platform. In today’s society, so many people rely on the media to help them make decisions. We as youth must take advantage of that and encourage sustainable products and promote companies who do the same. Investing in these companies is also a well based idea as it is an up and coming principle that more and more people are beginning to follow and it also allows for more funding to the company itself to get started. Packaging companies are not the only ones to be praised for their eco-friendly efforts. Companies like ASOS, Patagonia, Calvin Klein, and Amazon are all companies that have taken steps to implement sustainable packaging in order to have a lasting impact on their consumers and the environment. By supporting these companies you are encouraging their tactics to make the earth a better place.

To conclude, the earth is our home and it is our job as the citizens of this world to take care of it. It only takes one step at a time towards an eco-friendly environment, it only takes one person and a dream to start a revolution. Many of us share the same dream, and by taking the step to support others who share that dream you too can make a difference. Supporting companies that produce eco-friendly packaging, recycling used materials, reducing the amount of waste in the oceans and streets; these are all ways to make a difference that start with you.

Essay by: Ellissa Beach
Walton Central School