Twenty-five cities across the United States, including Seattle, have banned single-use plastic bags. Disposable packaging made of compostable materials is becoming more and more prevalent. An entire industry of reusable water bottles has risen up in opposition to disposable plastic water bottles.
A study of waste bins at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus revealed that 88 percent of the contents in trash bins could have been recycled or composted. Most – 72 percent – of what didn’t belong in trash bins turned out to be compostable items, such as food, carry-out containers and paper coffee cups.
“Plastics Unwrapped,” Dec. 20-May 27, 2013. Humans existed without plastics for centuries, but now we rely on them to meet our basic needs. They help us stay healthy, yet they linger, in landfills for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture takes a look at our relationship with plastics, past and present. “In order to counter the impact of plastic waste, we need to rethink our relationship with plastics,” advance notes for the exhibit say. “Discover how, at ‘Plastics Unwrapped.’”
It’s a late Sunday night in the U-District and sophomore Cassie Halls and a group of cyclist friends are biking home. Their feet strain against the bike pedals, fighting the weight of panniers over-flowing with food from the night’s haul.
This is a typical weekend grocery trip for Halls; she’s part of a subculture of “dumpster divers” or “dumpsterers” — students who make a habit of eating what the rest of the United States has discarded.