Our Unhealthy Obsession With Plastic

Our Unhealthy Obsession With Plastic

Just ban them already.
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“We’re doomed to live with yesterday’s plastic pollution and we are exacerbating the situation with each day of unchanged behavior,” Rolf Halden, associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University

There's no question that American's love plastic. Just go to your local store and you'll see plastic everywhere. It's lightweight, cheap, and sometimes one use (because who likes cleaning, right?). However, do we really know where that plastic shopping bag or bottle goes after we throw it in our overfilled garbage can? Let me show you...

These plastics end up everywhere. In overfilled landfills, water ways, city streets, and even in animals. Our overuse of plastics is causing a major problem that if continued, we'll be forced to address.

So I should just recycle more?

The good news, many plastic water bottles are 100% recyclable, the problem is they often don't make it to recycling facilities. Go to your recycling service website and learn how you can properly recycle. Now for the bad news, About 7 billion pounds of Poly-carbonate plastics are produced each year. The chemical used in production of this plastic is called Bisphenol A (known as BPA), BPA is not recyclable. Here's a helpful image to know if your plastic is recyclable:

These symbols will always be on your plastics no matter what type. See the three to the right? Be wise when you buy and try to not purchase these plastics. For example, those plastic shopping bags most retail and grocery stores use are not recyclable! Next time you go shopping try to combine multiple items into one plastic bag, bring a reusable bag, or simply ask for a paper bag at the grocery store.

Plastic and your health

In today's world it is almost impossible to completely avoid plastics. Bisphenoal A is used in canned foods, bottles, food packaging, and even on some surgical equipment. Almost every human has measurable traces of plastic in their blood and urine. Here's a simple list of many side effects BPA can have on our health:

  • breast cancer.
  • prostate disease and cancer.
  • diabetes.
  • obesity.
  • hyperactivity.
  • impaired, altered, and compromised immune system and functions.
  • miscarriage.
  • impaired female reproductive development

Sadly these aren't even all the known health concerns related in BPA in plastics.

What can you do?

1) Drink tap water! If you're concerned, buy an in home filter. Bottled water sits inside those plastic bottles for days, or however long you let your stash sit. Chemicals from the plastic gets absorbed into the water and bottled water typically only goes through a small number of filtration steps.

2) Use a reusable shopping bag, if you forgot yours then ask for a paper bag or use a small number of plastic bags.

3) Write to your local government officials and fight for the ban of BPA use and plastic shopping bags. Here's an organization that will help you get started: http://www.bagtheban.com/in-your-state

4) Do you really need a plastic straw for your drink? While at restaurants, especially if you're just drinking water, skip the straw. Animals will thank you.

5) Buy food in bulk, not only will you save money but you'll also save all the plastic waste.

6) Bring a reusable cup to your favorite coffee shop, many places will even give you a discount.

Please note, banning plastic all together will not happen in the near future. We rely on plastic for cars, computers, medical devices and so much more. However, could you imagine if everyone starting following my six simple steps? The use of plastics would drastically decrease.


Cover Image Credit: Seathos

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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