Save Your Silverware

Jaydi Swanson, Views Editor

All around the world, people use plastic forks, spoons and knives daily to eat. When they’re done, they throw away the utensils, along with all their cares about what might happen to them.

Every year, 6 million tons of single-use plastic, including utensils, are thrown away, according to One Green Planet.  But those forks don’t stay in the trash where you tossed them; instead, they make their way into the ocean, where they threaten hundreds of marine species.

Most people don’t want to kill innocent dolphins, whales and sea turtles. In fact, over the past few months, the world has been on a kick about banning plastic straws because they are known to directly harm sea turtles. Starbucks even released a statement saying they plan to get rid of all plastic straws in their stores by 2020, and they have implemented new straw-less lids.

Why are straws so widely despised, but plastic forks, spoons and knives still seem OK?

Think about it. The effects they have are really the same. Once you’re done eating with the plastic, marine animals take their turn, oblivious to the effects.

According to National Geographic, plastic in the ocean provides a breeding ground for algae. Animals smell the algae’s “stinky sulfur odor” and mistake the plastic for food. Not only can the plastic damage animals’ intestines, but it also attracts toxic chemicals as it breaks down in the water and passes them up the food chain. Eventually, these chemicals will reach you in your seafood.

This is problem may seem far away from a high school in southern Illinois, but our school contributes a countless number of utensils to the problem every day.

So what can we do to stop this?

It’s not that hard to carry a fork, spoon, or knife in your bag. You can throw one in your lunchbox every day and it takes up almost no space.  If everyone did this, think of how little plastic we would use each day. Our school could even buy a large set of silverware to be washed and reused each day, which would save money in the long run.

Reusable bags, water bottles, and now even straws have become a trend in society. But reusable silverware has been around long before any of these.

Why are we not taking advantage of it?