RANDY YANG (Opinions Editor)
When it comes to the environment, we as a society have not done nearly enough to spread awareness about the harmful practices that we do every day which contribute to the slow, continuous degradation of our planet. Our oceans contain between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic while, in just 2017 alone, landfills received up to 26.8 million tons of plastic! This is especially harmful due to the fact that plastic can take hundreds to even thousands of years to degrade, causing substantial harm to the land around it as plastic particles continuously contaminate our soil and water.
Dauntingly, only about 10% of all plastic waste is ever recycled, meanwhile; over 79% of that waste ends up in landfills or out in our environment. This unsettling statistic can undoubtedly be attributed to the lack of environmental education within our school systems as well as mainstream media. The issue of plastic waste simply is not talked about enough and its effects can be seen slowly radiating throughout our world year after year as our oceans, beaches and landfills build up with more and more plastic.
One form of recyclable waste that many seem to forget about is plastic cups. Oftentimes, people tend to forget that the cup that they are using to drink their Starbucks Pink Drink, or Tea For You Milk Tea from is actually able to be recycled. As a result, this buildup of cups end up in already oversaturated landfills. Other everyday items that people tend to forget can be recycled include toilet paper rolls, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, milk and juice cartons, as well as cardboard packaging from things such as tissues, toothbrushes and q-tips, which can all be thrown into blue recycling bins as long as they are clean and do not contain any left over food residue. For more information on the recycling guidelines in Alhambra, visit https://www.cityofalhambra.org/resources/trash-recycling-composting.
With the accumulation of plastic waste in our world growing larger and larger, each and every one of us needs to do our part to keep our only planet habitable for our future generations to come.