Rebecca Kim

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While environmentally conscious consumers may be concerned about single-use plastic packaging their produce comes in, they likely do not think of the excess of plastics farmers use just to grow that produce. The agricultural industry uses an extraordinarily high amount of plastic, notably through agricultural films, which are thin plastic membranes used for mulching. The predominant use of these films has come to be known as “Plasticulture” and, although plastic mulch has many benefits, its ubiquitous use creates substantial waste that, when broken down into micro plastics, eventually enter the human body. This article evaluates the advantages and drawbacks of plastic mulch, and looks into potential solutions to environmental and health problems associated with plastic mulch.