Everybody at several points of life has used plastics for various purposes. These plastics that we use on a daily basis are in fact, trying to destroy the world silently. Our planet earth is technically drowning in plastic alone. It is estimated that the production of plastics is increased by about 9 percent annually and this why it has been a serious threat to our planet. We need to understand that plastic is not only harmful to us but the environment as well. This is why we need to join hands to shun their usage completely.
Why do we need to stop using plastic?
Plastic is the main reason for the growing landfills these days.They fly away in the wind and get trapped in drains or confined spaces. These plastic bags, mostly after a short usage, end up being stacked or thrown away into the environment. They require about 1000 years just to decompose and if it’s in water medium, then they take nearly 450 years.
Plastic products are generally non-biodegradable .Moreover, plastic is said to be a petroleum based product too.Also, the fabrication of plastic alone requires several gallons of petroleum in the process of heating or transportation.This not only serves to be harmful to human beings but also to the animals, birds and aquatic animals . These creatures sometimes get suffocated due to these plastic bags and if at all they consume it, the key ends up getting choked.
Plastic though may seem to do not much harm instantly but on the long run, they can cause massive destruction to the environment.
Polyvinyl chloride is said to be one of the most harmful plastic products. This substance is used almost everywhere and found in several products like shower curtains, doors, water pipes and also cabling. It is said to be loaded with one of the most toxic chemicals called as ‘dioxin’.
Plastic bags cause acute damage to the environment and the disposal of this seems to be really a major hindrance. This is why we need to shun their usage at the earliest.
How do we stop using plastic products?
Putting this habit immediately into action would be really a difficult task because most of the products that are available are normally made out of plastic. But, we could gradually implement certain ideas in our day-to-day life to help stop the demand in its production.
• When you go buy products, do not choose plastic bags or plastic packaging. Always use cloth bags instead. Also, buy products that are plastic –free. Instead of buying plastic bottles, see what can be used a substitute. You can use steel, glass or ceramic instead.
• At home, whenever you store items, do not use plastic containers. You can use glass containers or otherwise recycled plastic containers .
• When you go to the deli to buy food items,always prefer to get it packed in paper instead of any plastic package. Also, when you buy milk , buy the ones in paper cartons and not plastic packaging.
• Buy bar soaps instead of buying liquid body washes .This is because body washes come in plastic bottles which might be difficult for disposal. Also, when you order drinks, do not ask for straws.
• Do not use air fresheners more often. Use incense instead.
• Even if you have little children at home, do not buy them plastic toys. You can easily find toys made of wood or bamboo available in the market. They are indeed a better substitute.
• Always use rechargeable batteries instead of the batteries that come packaged in plastic.
• If you have to buy music, do it online instead of buying CD’s from the shop.
• Try to lessen the usage of chemical cleaners that come in plastic bottles. Instead, you can use natural cleaners like baking soda or vinegar.
• Keep separate dustbins for plastic products so that they can be given to the nearby recycling plant.
• Try to compost your trash and do not use waste paper bags that are made up of plastic.
If you follow these simple steps in your everyday life, I’m sure we can considerably reduce the amount of plastic that is produced annually.
Recycling of plastic:
The plastic products that are already available on the surface of the earth cannot be entirely eliminated. But, they can be recycled so that they can be used again before they become one among the heaps of landfills. In some cases of plastic recycling, the resulting product is completely different from what it was originally. There are several processes that are involved in recycling of plastic. Some of them are thermal depolymerisation, heat compression etc. For these processes, initially the plastic products are correctly sorted out according to the type of resin present. There is a separate resin identification code for every plastic. Furthermore, these plastic products are separated according to their color and then given for the recycling process. There are different types of plastic polymers like polyethylene terephtalate, polyvinyl chloride, low-density polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene etc. There are also several recycling codes that are followed in case of recycling. For example the low-density polyethylene is observed to be an LDPE and has the recycling code of 4. This recycling code is normally indicated inside a three chasing arrow symbol.
Why is recycling needed?
• It helps protect the environment: There are a lot of plastic products that are littering the surface of the earth. The landfills have also been increasing due to this alone. The act of recycling will reduce the number of plastics that lie scattered in the environment.
• It helps in saving a lot of energy: The fabrication of materials from virgin materials needs a lot more energy when compared to the production from recycled materials. This way recycling helps in saving a huge amount of energy and helps in keeping a check on the pollution level as well.
Plastic is very toxic indeed and that’s why we need to take right decisions in curbing the pollution that it causes to the environment. Only then, can we help in preserving the natural beauty of our planet Earth.