Plastics and the Environment

Plastic is Worse Than Coal for Climate Change

The US plastics industry’s contribution to climate change is on track to exceed that of coal-fired power in this country by 2030, finds The New Coal: Plastics & Climate Change, a report from CAPA Senior Fellow Judith Enck and the Beyond Plastics project.

Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act

      While plastic is important for a number of products, like medical devices, plastic producers have increasingly flooded our markets with unnecessary, wasteful products that cannot be recycled — largely because creating new plastics is cheaper than using recycled products.

       The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act would address this, and other key parts of plastic pollution, by:

  • Shifting responsibility for waste management and recycling to manufacturers and producers,
  • Setting up a national beverage container refund program,
  • Establishing minimum recycled content standards,
  • Phasing out certain single-use plastic products that aren’t recyclable,
  • Prohibiting plastic waste from being exported to developing countries
  • Placing a moratorium on new and expanding plastic facilities until the EPA updates and creates vital environmental and health regulations on those facilities.

More About Plastic

In 2021, the Environmental Issues Committee learned about plastics’ health and environmental impact, strategies for dealing with plastic disposal, and environmentally safe alternatives to plastic. We have developed a plastic brochure you can access below to learn more about the topic. The brochure is designed to show the magnitude of today’s problem and to encourage everyone to become involved in finding solutions.

Recommended Reading

Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis

Journalist Erica Cirino brings readers on a globe-hopping journey to meet the scientists and activists telling the real story of the plastic crisis.

Recycling in America Is a Mess. A New Bill Could Clean It Up

As programs shutter and plastic use rises in the pandemic, a New York bill to get manufacturers to pick up the recycling tab could offer a solution.

Click here to learn more.

Trex Plastic Recyling Program

Our plastic collection project is done in conjunction with Trex, a composite decking company. Trex sponsors a plastic collection challenge in which a group or organization that collects five hundred pounds of plastic film receives a free “polylumber” bench from Trex in appreciation for the community’s recycling efforts. Our goal is to collect five hundred pounds of plastic film within a six-month time frame in order to receive the bench. The bench costs nothing more than the effort associated with coordinating people in donating plastic film that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The types of plastic you can recycle in the bins include: bubble wrap, grocery bags, bread bags, case overwrap, dry cleaning bags, ice bags, Ziploc/resealable bags, and cereal bags. See the Plastic Collection Poster for more information.

Where to take your plastic in Indiana, PA

We have bins in the S&T Arena, and outside the entrance of the YMCA. Please support this project by bringing your plastic to one of our bins.  No bottles or hard plastic please. Thanks to all who support this recycling project. Any questions can be directed to: evergreenconservancy@gmail.com

No Plastic Please Pittsburgh

In addition, LWVIC has partnered with No Plastic Please Pittsburgh, an organization that empowers individuals and communities to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic including plastic cutlery, take-out containers, bottles, cups bags, stirrers, straws and all Styrofoam.

Microplastics in PA's Local Waterways

To find out more, watch this informative video by Dr. Sam Mason.

Recommended Readings

There was also a lot of interest in learning more about microplastics, so here’s some reading Dr. Mason recommended:

  1. A deep dive from GQ on plastic, phthalates, endocrine disruption, and reproductive health. 
  2. The classic Silent Spring by PA native Rachel Carson.
  3. Our Stolen Future: sounded early alarms on the effects of many common chemicals on our endocrine system.
  4. Count Down: a book published this month on how chemicals in everyday objects like plastic are hurting fertility and humanity.

Benches Donated to the Indiana Community from the LWVIC-Trex Bags to Benches Project

Bench at the new Indiana County Conservation District Office donated by LWVIC in conjunction with the Trex Bags to Benches Project

Second bench donated by LWVIC in conjunction with the Trex Bags to Benches Project to the Indiana Community Garden.