Canadian Geographic Education


People vs. Plastics Video Series

The theme of Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics.

Plastic is versatile, malleable, strong, light and cost-effective to produce. It is an important invention that has simplified and improved the lives of countless people worldwide, as it can be used for storing, transporting, protecting and preserving food and medication.

Plastic is also ubiquitous and extremely long-lasting, and its production requires inordinate amounts of natural resources, such as water, natural gas and crude oil. As a result, plastic — more specifically, our plastic production, consumption and disposal habits — has become an environmental and economic problem that needs to be addressed if we are to protect our future and the future of the planet.

As concern for the environment grows, more and more people are asking questions about the necessity of certain single-use plastic objects, like water bottles, razors and yogurt containers. What resources — and how much of them — go into the production of these items? How long do these items take to break down if sent to landfill? Is it possible for chemicals to be released into the environment as these items degrade over time? How difficult is it to recycle plastic items into new objects? How can we use less single-use plastic?

To answer these questions, we need to consider, among other things, the individual life cycles of these items. Watch the series below to learn more about the benefits and challenges of plastic production and pollution.

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