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The Impact of Plastic: how you can make a difference


As cities and counties across the region struggle to continue recycling programs, it’s important now more than ever. You may be stunned to learn just how long your trash can survive even after you’re gone.


A paper towel takes four weeks to break down. A soda can takes 80 years, and plastic can take 400 years.


“It’s the only environment we have,” Keep Carter County Beautiful Chairman Ed Jordan said. “We only have one planet earth. We don’t have another house we can go to.”


Jordan is pushing for more people to recycle. In Johnson City, a quarter of all trash goes to recycling.


“We’ve seen the value in recycling from early on,” Assistant Public Works Director Andy Best said. “It helps us divert a waste stream from the landfills.”


It’s not enough. The shutdown of recycling centers has forced several counties to stop recycling plastic, but there are other options.


“My take is, if you go in to the store, take a reusable grocery bag,” Jordan said. “That will take out a lot of the plastic.”


A German scientist discovered last year the Tennessee river has the most plastic pollution of any river in the world. Most of that plastic is the type used in shopping bags.


A Swiss study found plastic particles in every stool sample of people from eight different countries.


“All these little things we can do, just a little minor help, would go a long way, instead of being a glutton nation and a throw-away society,” Jordan said.


Original story from wcyb

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