Plastic is a great resource used for countless purposes. Today, plastic is used in almost every sector — from construction to produce packaging, the textile industry to consumer products, and even in electrical and transportation machinery.
While plastic is a phenomenal material that plays a major role in numerous industries, single-use plastics cover approximate 40% of the total plastic production and are discarded after just one use. The red light here is that these plastics are non-biodegradable and that we have been choosing convenience over sustainability for the longest time, resulting in killing our planet’s health and our quality of living on it.
The year 2019-2020 left back 34 lakh tonnes of plastic waste in India. And every passing year, it is only increasing more. The Indian Government is taking remarkable measures to ease the damage and now has called out a complete ban on single-use plastic from July 1 onwards.
These single-use plastics are bound to cause deadly diseases like cancer, birth defects, chronic bronchitis, liver dysfunction, asthma, infertility, obesity, and the list goes on and on. The amount of time and energy put into the production of single-use plastic is just not worth it looking at the hazardous after-effects.
While discarding plastic completely from our lives is kind of impossible at the moment, we can take notable steps to minimize its use and look for better alternatives in our everyday lives —
The consumption of disposable plastic cups peaks at over 500 billion units per year. Most of which are just lying untreated in landfills as they are non-recyclable. Imagine the amount of harm it can cause in just a few years; the time to act is now.
Alternative: Switch to paper cups and other eco-friendly options. Buy a reusable cup and take it wherever — to your office, on trips, or use it at home.
Plastic Cotton Buds
With an average of 1.5 billion cotton buds being produced each day, most of it is disposed into the oceans. The plastic sticks are left out in the blue and consumed by aquatic animals resulting in the slow death of our water habitat.
Alternative: There are reusable silicon swabs available in the market now which is by far the best alternative. Earwax drops, bamboo cotton buds, and even visiting the ENT doctor for an occasional checkup are great options too.
Single-use plastic knives, spoons, and forks are hard to recycle items as the recycling machines are unable to sort them because of their small size & shape. Thus, they end up as untreated trash in landfills taking hundreds of years to decompose.
Alternative: Invest in a travel cutlery set so you are able to give up on single-use plastics completely, and consider switching to reusable cutlery.
Plastic Plates & Containers
Again, adding up to billions of tonnes of untreated plastic waste, it is now high time to shut this sector completely.
Alternatives: Glass plates, plates made of bamboo and palm leaf.
Plastic straws are the biggest threat to marine wildlife. Billions of straws end up in oceans through waterways as they are non-decomposable and are eaten by aquatic animals resulting in their death and extinction.
Alternative: Bamboo straws, stainless steel straws, paper straws, and reusable silicone straws are all great alternatives to plastic ones.