It's time to eliminate plastic pollution in Colorado

By Kelsey Maxwell
Environment Colorado Associate

This Thursday, Feb 28th Environment Colorado and allies flooded the steps of the Colorado State Capitol among a sea of plastic waste to urge our legislators to take action on plastic pollution in Colorado. We presented 22,898 petition signatures that we have collected in support of a statewide ban on single-use polystyrene to demonstrate that Coloradans are calling for action on our plastic problem.

Plastic pollution has a catastrophic impact on our wildlife, our waterways, and our ecosystems. Everyday we discard millions of pieces of plastic waste which litters our neighborhoods, parks, and rivers. Not only is this trash a significant eye sore, but it is harming our environment. It is widely known that plastic never biodegrades and instead breaks down into tiny particles known as microplastics. These microplastics pollute our aquatic ecosystems and wildlife.

To give you an idea of the scope of our plastic pollution problem in Colorado, every day Coloradans throw away 1 million Styrofoam cups. That’s 1 million pieces of Styrofoam trash that cannot be recycled. Styrofoam is a particularly bad plastic because it floats easily. As a headwater state, our polluted water travels into 18 different states and eventually reaches the ocean where it will kill wildlife for centuries. We have the responsibility to address this problem right here in Colorado, at the source.

Nothing that we use for a few minutes like our plastic bags, our coffee cups, and our plastic cutlery should pollute our waterways for centuries and kill hundreds of species of animals.

That’s why we are calling on our Colorado legislator to put wildlife over waste and eliminate the use of a variety of single use plastics in Colorado including plastic bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene.

We have made addressing plastic pollution a priority because Coloradans across the state are calling for change. By going door to door, we have collected 22,898 petition signatures from Coloradans who support a statewide ban on polystyrene, or styrofoam. Our support comes from Durango, to Fort Collins , to Colorado Springs and throughout the western slope.

The Colorado legislator needs to get to work to solve our plastic pollution problem. The convenience of a disposable cup, fork, or straw is not worth polluting our waterways for centuries and killing hounders of animal species. That's why we are working to move beyond plastic by banning plastic bags and polystyrene in Colorado.