Why Plastic? Know How it gets Drastic~ #KnowYourPlastic



Throwing away plastic? Is it recyclable? No? If the plastic you are throwing away is not recyclable then it will end up in landfills. We are all well aware of the fact that landfills are created to decompose a huge amount of waste, but plastics take hundreds of years to decompose. Some findings even claim that plastic is not biodegradable. This means that all of the plastic that has ever been manufactured and ended up in the environment is still present in some form. So, the plastic ending up in landfills, over time produces harmful toxic chemicals that are leached into the ground. This further results in contamination of groundwater and is very much capable of contaminating the drinking water supplies. If not that, plastic is lightweight, and hence most of the time it is blown away by wind and it can then clog drains and finally enter rivers and the sea in this manner.


But! Some plastics are recyclable too. What happens to them? The collected plastic is separated, cleaned, and sorted. Sorting of the plastic can be done in various ways, namely, manual separation, density separation, electrostatic separation, and sensor-based separation. Further, the recycling is majorly done by following a traditional method where the plastic is first melted followed by processing into new plastic products. 


Massive Plastic Existence!


Did you know that up till 2015, the entire amount of plastic generated worldwide was projected to reach 8.3 billion tonnes. Around 6.3 billion tonnes of this was dumped as waste, with 79% ending up in landfills or the natural environment, 12% being burnt, and 9% being recycled, even though just 1% of all plastic has ever been recycled more than once.


Global production had risen to 381 Mt per year by 2015, more than the total weight of everyone on the planet. In that particular year, 19.5% of waste was recycled, 25.5% was burnt, and the remaining 55% was disposed of, mostly in landfills.


A Plastic Ruled Future!


Some studies also show that If production continues unchecked, it might reach 800 Mt per year by 2040, although applying all available remedies could reduce plastic pollution by 40% from 2016 levels.  


According to a report by Science Focus, by the year 2030, our oceans, rivers, and lakes will have accumulated 53 million tonnes of plastic. HWH Environment says that more than 50 million tonnes of hazardous waste had been discarded globally as of February 2021. 


After witnessing such big numbers the question that strikes our mind is why we should not ban it completely, but we won’t be able to survive the same. A ban on plastic can cause consumer and economic inconvenience. It is often assumed that anything other than plastic would be better, but here most of us forget to consider that the environment will have to pay a higher cost for the available alternatives. 


A while back Delhi government took the initiative to ban plastic bags which came into effect on 1st January 2017. This initiative didn’t turn out as desired so the government couldn’t continue the same. But according to the latest reports, by June 30, 2022, all single-use plastic items and production facilities in the capital will have to pull their shutters down. Municipal governments and departments of the environment and urban development would give incentives for alternative market penetration and design a plan to promote recycling technology and recycled products.


Let’s Reduce Plastic!


By now we know that banning plastic completely is never going to be an applicable solution, so the next possible solution is to reduce the irresponsible use of plastic. If you still have doubts about switching to a reduced plastic consumption lifestyle then here are more reasons for you to understand its importance. 

  • First of all, Plastic production is a major issue that cannot be unseen. Production of plastic involves dealing with non-renewable fuels, where oil is processed just to gain the raw materials for creating plastic. 
  • Furthermore, climate change is exacerbated by plastic trash. While processing the non-renewable fuels to produce plastic, there is a vast emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). 
  • Recycling plastic garbage appears to be a viable option. But, as we all know, it isn't that simple. Currently used plastic packing materials frequently have multiple layers. Each layer has unique qualities, making recycling much more difficult.
  • Plastic is just not harmful to the environment but has a worse effect on animal life. Plastic consumption is deadly for animals be it terrestrial or aquatic. 
  • Plastic is also dangerous to human health. It is no news that plastic can cause a deadly level of pollution. And those (especially the workers at recycling facilities) are exposed to a variety of pollutants, accidents, infections, and other serious health problems due to a lack of technical health requirements, all of which lead to a shorter life expectancy.


How to Reduce Plastic Consumptions?


Keeping all this in mind, we must not forget that charity begins at home. Today we can take a pledge to become a part of this change by~


  • We all are aware that most of the commercial products that we buy on a day-to-day basis have plastic packaging to make them cost-effective for consumers. It’s high time that we change our thinking and take a step to make a great change. In that case, we can switch to products or brands that are environment-conscious and make a difference through an alternative or comparatively better source of packaging.
  • Rather than asking for plastic bags after shopping, we can carry our cloth or jute bags to go shopping. Also, opting for loose produce or bulk from a farmers market when possible than buying packaged food is not just plastic reduction but also a healthier alternative.
  • 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. 


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