Are the plastics we are throwing away recyclable ?
Plastics we are throwing away will end up in landfills if it is not recyclable. We are aware of the fact that plastics take hundreds of years to decompose. Even some findings claim that plastics are non-biodegradable. This means, all the manufactured plastics that ended-up in our environment are still present in some form. Plastics in landfill produce harmful chemicals that leach into the ground which results in contamination of groundwater and our drinking water as well. Plastic is also blown away by wind which clog drains and enter rivers and sea.
But some plastics are recyclable. The collected plastics are separated, cleaned, and sorted. Sorting can be done in various ways such as manual, density, electrostatic and sensor-based separation. The majority of recycling is done by a traditional method of melting and processing into new plastic products.
Massive Plastic Existence!
Until 2015, the total amount of plastic generated worldwide was around 8.3 billion tons in which around 6.3 billion tons was dumped as waste. And 79% ends up in landfills, 12% being burned, and 9% being recycled. Only 1% of all plastic was recycled more than once.
By 2015 the global production was raised to 381 mt per year which is more than the total weight of everyone on the planet. In 2015 alone 19.5% was recycled, 25.5% was burnt and the remaining was disposed of in landfills.
A Plastic Ruled Future!
Studies show that if it remains unnoticed, it might go 800Mt per year by 2040. And we can reduce it by 40% from 2016 level if we apply all possible solution.
According to Science Focus, by 2030, our oceans, rivers, and lakes will have 50 millions tons of accumulated plastic. HWH Environment says, more than 50 million tons of waste was discarded globally as of Feb 2021.
Still, why shouldn't we ban it completely ? Because it would be hard. It can cause consumer and economic inconvenience. And anything other than plastics would help, but most of us are unaware that the environment will have to pay a higher cost for plastic usage.
On 1st Jan 2017 Delhi Govt banned single-use plastics but it didn’t turn out as desired. According to reports, by June 2022, all single-use plastics production facilities in the capitals will have to stop. Governments would give incentives for alternative market penetration and design a plan to promote recycling.
Let’s Reduce Plastic!
We know that completely banning plastic is an inapplicable solution. It is better to reduce unnecessary usage of plastic.
How to Reduce Plastic Consumptions?
Keeping this in mind, Let us not forget that charity begins at home. Today we can take a pledge to become a part of this change by:
- We are all aware that most of the commercial products we buy contain plastic packaging to make them cost-effective. It is time to change our thinking and take steps to make change. Let us switch to brands that are environment-conscious and make difference through an alternative solutions.
- Rather than using plastic bags, let's use cloth or jute bags for shopping. And opt for loose produce and purchasing bulk directly from farmers instead of buying packed food.
- This generation is all about being trendy, and DIY is the new trend. Wise consumption of resources is the new ‘Go Green’ shriek.
- Learning about alternatives that can be recycled endlessly, like aluminum or glass, and switching to them to a reasonable extent can turn out to be an efficient, sustainable, and much appreciable move. Simultaneously, abandon the use of single-use plastics/commodities. For instance, a simple switch from plastic water bottles to metal bottles will do the job.
- Hop on to the mantra of ‘Reuse-Repair-Upcycle’. Why throw away something that can be reused? Or repaired? Or creatively upcycled?
Together we can become sustainable, together we can become heroes. Together we dream of a zero-waste planet, together we can become #ZeroHeros.