Plastic is a big part of the environmental discourse. Remember when the horrifying video of a plastic straw stuck into a turtle’s nose went viral and everyone started talking about banning plastic straws? Everyone seems to have the consensus that they don’t want plastics floating around the ocean and getting tangled with animals. But what has been done since then other than plastic straws being replaced by straws that will literally melt into your drinks? I believe we should have the right to a plastic-free environment. No life on Earth should be forced to swim in, tread through, and consume plastic.
I envision a world where corporations are responsible for the waste they have produced, and everything we consume can be circulated back to the production chain. The burden of properly recycling plastics should not be put on consumers, but on corporations. They are the ones who produce these kinds of products, and they are the ones who are not consumers of a choice to go plastic-free. Therefore, they should be responsible for the waste their products produce.
Purely relying on technological innovation and advancement cannot solve the plastic problem. Sure that cool machine that sucks up ocean plastics looks cool and plays a big part in cleaning up the mess. However, heavy regulation on plastic production and distribution is essential to mitigating the plastic problem. Heavy regulation and an eventual ban should be placed on single-used and disposable packaging. There should also be Extended Producer responsibility on corporations to properly dispose of or recycle these single-use items. Speaking of which, I have a bone to pick with the City of Vancouver. I fully support charging disposable cups and boxes at shops and restaurants. However, the amount of times I was told by shops that they don't have the capabilities to put my drink into the reusable cup I brought is absurd (I’m looking at you Tim Hortons and McDonald’s). This completely defeats the purpose of the by-law. The government has to crack down on shops that force consumers to "buy" disposal plastic items. [Note to self I really need to write a letter to the city about this]