Single-use plastics are polluting our landfills and waterways, killing marine life and ultimately contributing to the climate crisis. Here’s how 10 countries have made big changes to tackle the problem, and how you can tackle it too.
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Plastic pollution has officially become a worldwide health crisis. Almost 80 percent of the Earth’s plastic is currently littering our landfills and environment, and almost 13 tons end up in our oceans, according to Greenpeace. Some countries, like Peru and Australia, have severely restricted single-use plastics. Others, like Canada and Kenya, have banned them outright. As the U.S.A. waits for a federal-level policy on single-use plastics, here are some things you can do right now to start reducing your own plastic footprint at home.
1ZIMBABWE, WHERE THE FOOD INDUSTRY WAS FORCED TO PHASE OUT PLASTIC
In 2017, officials in Zimbabwe decided to ban takeout containers made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), a non-recyclable styrofoam-like plastic that can literally take a million years to break down. The containers caused a sewer-clogging epidemic, and many of them were burned with the trash, making the air toxic to breathe. The ban was controversial among food vendors, but the threat of fines up to $5,000 got them to comply. The following year, Zimbabwe introduced legislation to outlaw all single-use plastics.