Right from syringes, helmets, and laptops to bags and phones, plastic has helped us in a lot of ways and remains one of the greatest inventions to date. While most plastic is recyclable, the amount of waste generated by plastic every year is pretty high. Moreover, the amount of energy required to recycle a product is excessive and unreasonable.
Karnataka has already banned the use of plastics while some other places in India and UK have introduced a tax on plastic bags. Even if we have been trying to reduce our use of plastics, most of us are guilty of using at least one black plastic bag, commonly known as ‘garbage bags’, to empty out our bins. So naturally, a lot of plastic goes along with the bin and ends up in landfill sites. The rest of it gets dumped into the sea and causes harm not only to the environment but also to our health by degrading the quality of water and suffocating marine organisms with this toxic waste.
Seven Dials’ book 101 Ways To Free Yourself From Plastic And Save The World tells us why it is necessary to address plastic pollution and stresses on the need to find alternative solutions.
Here are a few tips on how you can replace your everyday plastic products with more biodegradable items:
Foods and drinks
*Although frozen food adds shelf life and prevents it from getting wasted, a majority of the vegetables and fruits come in plastic packaging. The solution? Buy fresh foods and freeze them in reusable containers.
*Instead of buying plastic bottles for water and other drinks, keep a reusable bottle with your all the time. You can fill it up with water whenever you want. You can also opt for cans as they are made from recycled aluminum.
*Opt for ice cream cones instead of the plastic tub and spoon. Also, stop using straws. You can buy biodegradable straws online if need be.
*Some tea bags are made using polypropylene, which is a type of plastic. So it is wise to switch to loose tea to avoid the plastic packaging.
*Pick loose vegetables and fruits, instead of the packaged ones.
*Grow your own herbs such as basil, mint, coriander, parsley instead of buying plastic-packaged ones. You will get a green thumb in the process.
Around the house
*Use DIY cleaning products as they are cheaper and better for the environment. It will reduce the use of harsh chemicals and you need not buy the plastic bottled disinfectant.
*While it’s not every day that we need a new hairbrush but whenever you buy one, use a wooden hairbrush instead of a plastic one.
*Toilet paper rolls come stacked in plastics. So opt for plastic-free packaging. You can easily find them online.
*While cleaning, many of us use rubber gloves, some of which are made from synthetic rubber known as nitrile that is a form of plastic. Instead, go for 100 percent rubber or latex gloves.
*Ditch plastic jars of moisturizers and serums and opt for glass bottles.
*Be it birthdays or any other event that require you to send out an invitation, save paper and plastic by using e-cards. Wrapping paper, too, contains plastic. Hence, use recycled wrapping paper or a paper bag.
*Ditch the ballpoint pen! Use your phones and laptops to write something. Alternatively, fountain pens are a great option as they are made from stainless steel.
*While cigarettes come wrapped in cellophane, loose tobacco comes packaged in a plastic pouch. Not only will saying no to smoking reduce the risk of cancer, you can also lessen the use of plastic.
*Look after every item you own that contains plastic. Right from your cellphones and headphones to hairpins and stationery, take better care of them so as avoid the need of replacing them.
*Switch to green gardening. Compost and fertilizers come packaged in plastic and some plants are potted in plastic tubs. Instead, grow plants and flowers from seeds. Go for plants that come in compostable containers as well.
Save the World
*Like toilet paper, tissues and napkins also come packed in plastic. The best solution is to use a good old handkerchief.
*While eating noodles, use a steel fork or a reusable chopstick, instead of disposable ones.
*Don’t flush products that can go into the bin. It will end up causing a flood or litter the beaches. Especially, sanitary product and cotton pads should never be flushed.
*Save paper and plastic by reusing the old ones. Although the best way is to go digital.
*Ever heard of plogging? It is picking up bits of litter and plastic while you go jogging. You can do your own bit to save the world.