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There is Now a Ton of Plastic Trash for Every Person on Earth

plastic trash

A new study released data on all the plastics ever made, and the findings are alarming. More than 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950 and over half the plastic ever produced was made in the past 13 years.

We have heard some pretty staggering facts related to single-use waste, and they’re so overwhelming that we’ve become desensitized in a way. But this one is hard to comprehend: There is now one ton of plastic garbage for every person on Earth. A study by ScienceAdvances released in July gathered global data on the lifecycle of plastic. They studied data on the production, use, and end-of-life management of plastic components for the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured.

The Facts

The study estimates that of the 8,300 million metric tons of plastics have been produced and about 6,300 million metric tons has reached the end of its useful life and is now considered trash. Shockingly, only 9% of it has been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% polluted landfills or the environment. If the trend continues, about 12,000 million tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the environment by 2050.

The study also found that plastic production is rapidly accelerating and single-use plastic packaging is now the largest plastic market. The world has made as much plastic in the past 13 years it did in the previous 50.

What to do?

Immerse yourself in plastic pollution news. Connect with people and organizations advocating for reducing plastic waste like Break Free From Plastic. Take the pledge to reduce single-use plastic at Plastic Pollution Coalition:

REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic.

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it.

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

Get serious about being part of the movement to eliminate single-use plastic. Learn more here.

Image credit: Justin Hofman.

Pickle Your Garden Fruits and Vegetables This Fall!

garden

If you head to your local farmers market every weekend or have a garden of your own, you know that fall offers a wide variety of delicious in-season vegetables. With so many options it can be hard to pick, but luckily you don’t have to! Pickling provides a delicious alternative to keeping those garden vegetables fresh for the winter months to come.

Apples, beets, cranberries, cabbage, rutabaga, cauliflower, onions and squash are all in season and perfect for pickling. Before you begin the process, make sure you have pint-size (2-cup) canning jars or similar-size tempered-glass jars with lids equal to the amount you’d like to pickle.

Step 1: Prepare Fruit or Vegetables

Wash and chop your veggies into whatever shape you’d like them to be pickled in (thin disks work well if you’re unsure ). Cabbage is easiest when shredded.

Step 2: Divide Vegetables

Divide the vegetables among the pint-size (2-cup) canning or other glass jars. Place them inside the jars and leave some room.

Step 3: Add Flavorings

Add fresh or dry flavorings, if desired. Don’t be afraid to mix and match a little! Some of the best dry flavorings to start with are peppercorns, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and caraway. Use between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of these dried spices per jar.

Step 4: Make Brine

Make either sweet or sour brine using these recipes:

Sour Brine Recipe

Makes: 6 cups. Combine 3 cups distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar), 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sea salt and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt is dissolved. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Sweet Brine Recipe
Makes: 6 cups. Combine 3 cups distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar), 3 cups water, 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sea salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

If canning apples try this recipe, and for cranberries try this recipe.

Step 5: Fill Jars with Brine

Carefully fill jars (or containers) with brine to within 1/2 inch of the top of the rim, covering the fruit or vegetables completely. Discard any leftover brine. Place the lids on the jars (or containers) and push to the back of the refrigerator. Let them sit back there for at least a week while the flavors soak up. Keep jars in the fridge for up to 6 months.

If you grow other vegetables in your garden, try canning them this fall and perfect your recipe. These jars make great hostess or holiday gift ideas.

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