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Lyda Harris on microplastics in UW Medicine blog

Friday, June 5, 2020 - 13:30 to Saturday, September 5, 2020 - 13:30

Right as Rain, the UW Medicine digital publication, published an article on microplastics and their potential impact on the environment and human health. Biology PhD candidate Lyda Harris is featured in the article.

“We live in a world where everything is made out of plastic or synthetic fabric,” Harris adds. “It starts with consumers being more aware of what they’re consuming, changing their attitude about plastic and then using their buying behavior to persuade big businesses.”

She likens it to basic supply and demand. If more consumers want sustainable packaging and products, businesses will follow suit.

You can reduce your microplastic creation and consumption by using less plastic in your daily life. For example, drink tap water instead of water that comes in plastic bottles. Opt for fresh food instead of packaged options that come wrapped in plastic. Avoid “fast fashion” clothing and instead focus on items that will last a long time or come from manufacturers who recycle used clothing.

Whatever you choose to do, be prepared for the long haul.

“Following the lifecycle of plastics is important as assessments suggest that just because we threw something into ‘recycling’ does not mean that it is recycled properly,” Faustman notes. “Governments and manufacturers need to ensure that, over the lifecycle, these items are not just moved to other less-developed recycling paths.”

“Unless people see how bad it is, they’re not going to change their behavior,” Harris adds. “Environmental problems aren’t necessarily short term, so it’s on people to tell their governments and companies what they want and help change their attitudes.”

Read the full article on Right as Rain.

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