Written by Corinne Newman

      After all these blogs talking about the issues, the harm, the negative effects, and possible solutions, it’s only natural to be asking “What now?”. Where can we go from here? What would a world without unnecessary plastics even be like?

             I imagine a world without plastics to be a much cleaner one. The environmental harm from them healing, like a scab stitching together and eventually fading into tough scar tissue. The initial wound never fully forgotten, but new strength grew from there. The generations who are born into this plastic-free earth not having any of the associated health risks that come with plastics, or the nagging fear of how much microplastics might be swimming in their bloodstream. They don’t have any moments of looming anxiety about what will happen to their bodies as the microplastic count continues to grow. Animals wouldn’t starve with stomachs full of indigestible toxic pollution. There will no longer be viral videos showing the terrible ways sea life gets entangled in plastics, or birds incorporating unnatural plastics into their nests.

             I imagine that the space we exist in looks much cleaner too. random plastic bottles, food packaging, and plastic grocery bags wouldn’t collect and congregate on the corners of our city streets or spill across our countertops. I imagine that we’d turn to a glass bottle system. Gas stations and grocery stores house convenient snacks and drinks in sturdy reusable glass containers. I imagine that there would be fewer cheap knockoffs. When you buy something online you won’t have to worry about if the product you get would feel cheap and fake, the detailing actually being constructed out of molded plastics.

             A world without plastics clogging up the storm drain or mingling with the underbrush of a forest, leaching into the land, and making the soil toxic. A world with much cleaner waters. Attention can be focused on the other issues caused by industrialization plaguing our planet and communities.

             I don’t think a world without plastic would suddenly be a utopia. I don’t want to sell anyone on a promise like that. But I think it would be better, in many ways. Greener, cleaner, healthier. We lived in a world absent of synthetic plastic before, we could do it again. The initial invention of plastics was a fantastic thing. The way it helped make lives easier and push scientific discovery. The expansion of medical equipment plastics provides is fantastic. But I think we are at a point where outside of necessary medical use, we don’t need the ease that plastic offers. I think we are strong enough and care enough about the harm they cause to collectively know that abandoning unnecessary plastics, even if it will be inconvenient in many ways, is for the best. Not just for our communities, but for everything that exists on earth.

Photo by name_ gravity on Unsplash

Leave a Reply