How our plastic is harming the environment | CBC Kids News

How our plastic is harming the environment | CBC Kids News


I’m on a mission to find out
what is happening with all our plastic. Only 9 per cent of it –
9 per cent – gets recycled. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Okay. So what’s going on here? Here we are thinking we’re doing
the best thing for the planet, cleaning, scrubbing,
sorting all this plastic, when in reality this could all
just be for nothing. WTF, Canada? I thought we were
better than this.If this isn’t actually
going to get recycled,
why bother?And if it doesn’t get recycled,
where’s it even going? David: Kirkland, that’s
the brand for Costco. And where is this
from? Niagara Falls. All right. Let’s go. ♪ ♪ You recently went to Malaysia.Why did you go?David:We went because we had
heard a lot of what we put
in our blue box, recycling,
plastic, that kind of thing,
was ending up in Asian
countries, and we’d heard that some of it
could be going to Malaysia. So we wanted to
go there to find out is Canadian stuff going there, and if so why there? How’s it happening, and what
are they doing about it, and what are the impacts to the
people who live there? Right. So is Canadian
plastic there? Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately,
we found a lot of it. We found shipping containers
full at ports. We went to big giant, like,
multi-storey mountains that are just
filled with plastic, a lot of it
from North America. Some of it
certainly from Canada. California. Denmark. U.K. From Britain. A flipper. Scuba flipper. Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart.ca. Safeway, proudly Canadian.
So…English and French. That’s Canadian. That’s for crime stoppers
in Canada. This is Real Canadian
Superstore. Canadian, after Canadian,
after Canadian.So if you have
a water bottle,
you don’t want
it to cost more
than the cost of a
water bottle to recycle it.
You send it to
a place like Malaysia,
and you have a lower
labour cost, but you also have
sometimes, more lax standards,
or more people willing to break
the law around
health and safety.
So how is our
plastic waste affecting the people of that region? Like, look at this. What happens a lot of the time
is it just gets burned.And so those recyclers will
take the most valuable parts,
they’ll reprocess that,
anything else they burn.
And so that creates toxic smoke
right where people live.
It pollutes the waterways.You can see tiny
little bits of plastic,
plastic that could
have been our salad container, or our grocery bag, or our toy
container just a few months ago.Now it’s in Malaysia, cut up,
and floating down their waters.
9 per cent of the plastic we use
in Canada gets recycled. Is there any point to recycling
if the numbers are this low,and it’s having this effect?It’s a good
question. It’s discouraging to see your
stuff not being recycled. So a lot of people will
say keep doing recycling, but don’t focus on recycling. Focus on the thing that’s
supposed to be at the top. Reducing the amount
of plastic we use,and then reusing the plastic
that you already have.
Only then should
you recycle it.
The challenge
is that we in Canada
aren’t reducing our plastic.We’re using more
and more of it every year.
We use it for
all sorts of things.
Sometimes it’s in our homes,Sometimes in places
where people work.
And if we continue to
use more, and more, and more,
well, there aren’t
enough places to put it,
and there’s not enough
of a case, it’s like,
it costs too much
money to recycle it.
And so we’re just creating more
and more pollution.
[tape rewinding] Saara:So maybe
I should be
thinking about things
differently.
Instead of focusing on
washing the container, I should refill it, or maybe
I shouldn’t be buying products that come in plastic
in the first place. That is not going to be easy,
but there are some little things I can do, like using
a reusable water bottle, or bringing my reusable
bags to the mall. What do you think? What are some small things
you can do every day to limit the
amount of plastic you use? Tell us what you think at
CBC Kids News
at cbc.ca. ForCBC Kids News,
I’m Saara Chaudry. ♪ ♪

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