With some alarm, I heard on New Year’s Day that China will be implementing a severe crackdown on the amount of plastic they accept from the U.S. and other countries for recycling.

One of the changes that I can point to as a 70-something-year-old citizen is the general acceptance of recycling among the American public. I recycle all my metal, glass, paper and plastic that is recyclable. I hate the idea that it might go into the trash barrel and end up in a landfill. (Didn’t they make those illegal some years ago?)

I have been saving, buying and repurposing glass containers for some time now. Glass is easier to clean, and when it is time for it to go, it can be melted down and made into new glass.

Plastic is made largely from petroleum products. These, as we know, are a major factor in shifting the climate of our planet. They pollute the air when burned, groundwater when fracked and the ocean when carelessly disposed of.

We did without plastic for a long time. In fact, until the beginning of the 1960s, it was largely a laboratory invention looking for a use. Maybe one century is enough for this troublesome stuff.

An idea gradually gaining a following in Congress is the Citizens’ Climate Lobby campaign to put a fee on fossil fuel production. There are now 66 members of the House signed on to study and produce a bill. Plastic is certainly not the only problem with petroleum, but will become an even larger problem if we don’t work to change things. Ask Rep. Bruce Poliquin to sign on to the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Karen Tolstrup


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