Sustainability club panel discusses plastic industry

Sustainability+club+founder+and+president%2C+Baleigh+Epperly%2C+organized+conversations+with+sustainability+department+manager%2C+Amy+Parsons-White%2C+and+two+Ohio+Valley+Environmental+Coalition+volunteers%2C+Randi+Pokladnik+and+Alex+Cole.+%0A

Sustainability club founder and president, Baleigh Epperly, organized conversations with sustainability department manager, Amy Parsons-White, and two Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition volunteers, Randi Pokladnik and Alex Cole.

 To promote Marshall’s next “Screen on the Green” event in celebration of Earth Day, the sustainability club hosted a panel with sustainability officials to discuss how the plastic industry is harming the Appalachian region and the environment.  

On April 15, sustainability club founder and president, Baleigh Epperly, organized conversations with sustainability department manager, Amy Parsons-White, and two Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition volunteers, Randi Pokladnik and Alex Cole via Microsoft Teams.  

“I feel bad as someone who will be 66. Our generation is handing your guy’s generation a huge mess because of greed,” Pokladnik said. “We knew full well 20 years ago that this [plastic consumption] was causing problems and we just ignored it a lot like what we’re doing with climate change.” 

The Sustainability Club is teaming up with the Campus Activities Board (CAB) on April 22 to present the 2019 documentary, “The Story of Plastic,” at 7:30 p.m. on Harless Field. The documentary exposes the man-made crisis of plastic pollution and the effect it has on the planet. 

“I learned more than I can even explain watching the film. I think it is really important that everyone sees it,” Epperly said.  

According to the description from the creators, the documentary is a “searing expose revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling and is different from every other plastic documentary you’ve seen. . . presents a cohesive timeline of how we got to our current global plastic pollution crisis and how the oil and gas industry has successfully manipulated the narrative around it.” 

Both Parsons-White and Cole said the documentary explains why people need to do more than recycling. They have changed their own style of recycling because of the documentary.  

“This documentary does a great job at showing the big picture, globally and where our trash actually ends up and how recycling is a lie,” Cole said.  

Parsons-White said the documentary has information that everyone needs to have— even people like herself in the sustainability department.  

“We can’t recycle our way out of this mess,” Parsons-White said. “The amount of plastic that we have on this planet right now; we can’t recycle our way out of that.” She said the only way to move past plastic is to use more natural and compostable materials.

Xena Bunton can be contacted at [email protected]