Small things can help make a big difference
The 48th anniversary of our historic first Earth Day just passed, and this year’s Earth Day theme is working to curb the plastic pollution problem that is plaguing the earth. This is a critically important challenge, and a highly complex problem that will not be easily solved. It will ultimately require much consciousness raising as well as government intervention.
However, comparing two local restaurants that we visited last week show how much individuals and small businesses can do to help with this problem. The first restaurant gave us, unasked for, eight plastic straws for four people. Then, when we could not finish our meals, they wrapped our leftovers in Styrofoam clamshell containers. The second restaurant did not provide straws, and placed our take-home leftovers in cardboard boxes. A seemingly trivial, but incredibly important, difference.
It will take centuries for our Styrofoam containers and plastic straws to biodegrade. Long, long before that our simple cardboard cartons will have turned into a biodegraded, nonpolluting part of the earth. Bravo, restaurant two!
A 2016 Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans eat out at least once a week. That adds up to nearly 200 million restaurant meals per week. The difference between those two restaurants multiplied 200 million times would make a huge difference in our plastics pollution problem. So, small things can make a very big difference. Lets all do our bit to get them done.
Frank and Ann Dinan