“Most of us wear synthetic fabrics like polyester every day. Our dress shirts, yoga pants, fleeces, and even underwear are all increasingly made of synthetic materials — plastic, in fact. But these synthetic fabrics, from which 60% of all clothing on earth is made, have a big hidden problem: when they’re washed, they release tiny plastic bits — called microfibers — that flow down our drains, through water treatment plants, and out into our rivers, lakes and oceans by the billions.”
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Whether it’s being used as a mid-day breath refresher or on the playground to see who can blow the biggest bubble—chewing gum is a daily habit for many people. But what happens when you’re done chewing it? 80–90% of chewing gum is not disposed of properly and it’s the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts.
Chewing gum is made from polymers which are synthetic plastics that do not biodegrade. When it’s tossed on the sidewalk, there it sits until it’s removed which can be a costly, time consuming process. Littered gum can also make it’s way into the food chain. It has been found in fish where it can accumulate toxins over time. Sustainable chewing gums have been produced. These gums are natural, biodegradable substances. Cities are also implementing gum receptacles to cut down on waste. In a six month period these trash cans cut down on littered gum by 72%.
Next time you get ready to toss your gum, consider aiming for a trash can instead of the side walk.
With energy efficiency on everyone’s mind in the last few years, experts are looking into ways to make the general food chain more ecologically conscious as well.