Earth Minute: Plastics Ban or Ban on All Disposables?

Earth Minute: 12 June 2019 by Anne Petermann

GJEP partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Radio, Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute every Wednesday and an Earth Watch interview on Thursdays.

On June 10th, Canada announced it will ban single-use plastics by 2021, joining a growing chorus of voices calling for their elimination.

While I applaud the effort to eliminate disposable plastics, the real culprit is not plastics, but our disposable society. At some point, the slogan “reduce, reuse, recycle” got lost and recycling became the only thing that mattered.  Even that has proven to be too much, however, as Canadians, for example, only recycle 9% of their plastic waste.

If we ban plastics without addressing the underlying problem of unnecessary consumption, we will only replace one problem with another.  The plastic bag ban, for example, will result in a paper bag boom, and an increase in deforestation–at a time when the climate crisis dictates that we keep our forests standing.

How about a ban on all disposables—not just the bags, but the cheap plastic junk designed to break, be thrown away and replaced in an endless cycle of waste.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

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