Your Little Bit of Good - For the Earth November 18, 2023

Image of plastic mountain with the text, "Systemic problems can only be addressed by systemic solutions."


God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.


“Systemic problems can only be addressed by systemic solutions.”

After last week’s YLBG, where we learned that the process of recycling plastic results in the shedding of a lot of microplastics, I have had more than a few people ask me if we should even bother to recycle plastics. I wonder that myself. Every time I am forced to purchase an item packaged in plastic, (and I say forced because there are no plastic-free alternatives to most consumer products), I feel stupendously guilty. Every time I toss that plastic in the recycle bin, it helps assuage the guilt a little bit.

After about the fifth time someone asked the question, I decided to find an answer. Turns out, YES, we should still recycle. (Whew!) Whether plastic is processed for recycling or if it is breaking down in the environment, microplastics are still created. Regardless of whether or not our plastics are recycled when we toss them in the bin, they definitely won’t be if we just trash them. Recycling at least gives them a chance to be reused.

The most significant truth to take away from the recycling debate is that we cannot let it lull us into a false sense of serenity. The plastic situation is systemic. The answer to the problem must be systemic. There is no doubt that we are forced to use plastic. But knowledge is power! We choose plastic-free alternatives as often as we can. We recycle when we need to. And we work for a society that sees the harm of plastic and the value of plastic-free alternatives. As long as we are doing that last bit, the rest we do as the best option is open to us now.


Please take a look at this Life Hacker article about why we should still recycle plastics. It explains in more detail why we should continue to recycle and why we need to do it right. It also explains why single-use convenience plastics are the worst plastics.

Keep educating yourself on why we must change the system and share that knowledge with others. There are so many reasons, ranging from our health to the racial injustices inherent in the processing of plastic, where processing plants and their pollution are most often located in low-income communities of color.

Advocate with us to make changes in how our society uses plastic. Email [email protected].

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