Christina Cilento is an associate policy fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. She was a 2021 fellow with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute and previously worked on sustainable development in Vientiane, Laos.
Last year, I resolved to reduce my consumption of plastic in every way I could. I’ve been an environmental advocate for many years, but after living and traveling across Southeast Asia, inhaling fumes from burning plastic in Laos and witnessing heaps of trash choking Manila Bay, plastic pollution was no longer an “out of sight, out of mind” problem for me. I learned that the United States generates the most plastic waste of any country, that less than 10 percent of it is successfully recycled, and that much of it gets offloaded overseas for other nations to deal with. Inspired by the Malaysian and Philippine governments, both of which famously rejected barges of plastic trash sent to them by wealthier nations, I decided it was time to treat this glut of disposables as my problem, not someone else’s. So I supercharged my efforts back home in 2021.
I very nearly eliminated online shopping. I stopped eating thi... Read more