Scotland – Sustainability – Plastic and sustainability – 2nd Level – P5, P6, P7 classroom and home learning for sustainability with BBC Bitesize Scotland
On a diet of oil or gas, he can produce all sorts of stuff; from washing machines, to wigs, to waterslides.
There are loads of different types of plastic.
Plastic fibres can even be used to make clothes like swimsuits, or space suits!
Just look at this hospital. Plastic surfaces and chairs that are easy to clean.
Plastic medical equipment that helps people get better.
Even plastic legs that help people walk.
But plastic has so many uses that it’s pretty much everywhere.
And that’s a big problem.
First off, plastic factories pump out toxic fumes, which is bad for our health and contributes to global heating.
Secondly, plastic litter looks ugly and can harm wildlife.
Marine animals and birds in particular can be hurt or even killed by plastic in the sea.
Plastic also lasts for hundreds of years. So if you throw away a bottle, it’ll still be there in the future when your great, great, great, great grandkid is about.
So what can we do about it?
Well, we can recycle some plastics. This is when we take plastic that’s used for one thing, like a bottle and then make it into another, like a carpet.
The more we recycle, the less plastic is wasted and the less new plastic we need to make.
There are new materials that reduce our plastic use, too.
Lots of takeaways and supermarkets use compostable bags, containers and cups.
Compostable packaging biodegrades in a compost bin, just like vegetable peelings and apple cores.
But the very best thing to do…
…is use less plastic!
Shopping bags can be made out of cloth or paper, toothbrushes can be made out of bamboo, and clothes can be made out of natural fibres.
Realistically though, we’re still going to need Plastic to make some things.
He’s just too useful with his flexibility and his strength and his low cost.
So we should try and reduce his most harmful effects like toxic fumes, litter and pollution by only using him for the most important stuff.