Are you still a plastic user? Check your homes for containers, bottles, cutlery, bags, etc. Do you see plastic all around you? Take a step and be the change yourself.
So while everywhere there is a buzz about going plastic - free, let's first try and understand what makes plastic use cause side-effects and why and what we need to know about it. To begin with, look at the composition of plastic. The term “plastics” includes materials composed of various elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulphur. Plastics are inexpensive and durable, and as a result levels of plastic production by humans are high. However, the chemical structure of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation and as a result they are slow to degrade. Together, these two factors have led to a high prominence of plastic pollution in the environment.
Plastic today has become such an integral part of our lives that it may seem to many that it is not quite possible to imagine an easy going life without it. Where will we store our ration? How not to eat in disposables on a picnic? And why to spend more on a jute bag when plastics bags are found at every hook and corner of the street? With this it becomes quite clear that plastic is found in every room of our house. While all this is to be visible to you in its very form, there are many other uses of plastic which does not come out in the final product; it is just an ingredient in a recipe. There is a huge percentage of plastic in your television, your sound system, your cell phone, and your vacuum cleaner and probably plastic foam in your furniture. This is when we realize that we also use plastic without knowing it. So now the question is, can we really get away with it? It's clear that modern life would be very different without plastics. However, challenges lie ahead. But just a bit of Discovering gives us surprising insights and little-known facts- now many plastics can be chemically, mechanically, or thermally recycled. Having found this, the challenge seems much less smaller.
By now we also know that not all plastic is bad. It can be categorized depending upon it's number of uses and whether it can be easily be recycled / decomposed or not. In this regard, it can be understood that only single use plastic and those which cannot be recycled / decomposed can cause tremendous side effects. Let's try and find out what these are.
Many skin problems occur due to long contact with diapers, sanitary napkins and polyester clothing and bedding
Cause of cancer
Birth deficits and genetic changes
Can irritate eyes, nose and throat and can cause dizziness and unconsciousness
Migrates into food and stores in body fat
Bronchitis and coughing are also a possibility
Can cause breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, weakness, headache and fatigue
If so many are the problems, we surely need to think of a better option. But this may not be as boring and painstaking. Switching to something new and different can be very creative and fun at well. Here are some ideas that would surely hit your mind.
We do start off our day with plastics, the very first being our toothbrush. Why not replace it only, not by skipping brushing, rather using a substitute of your toothbrush. Why not switch to bamboo toothbrushes? Made of mostly sustainable materials that can decompose naturally, the bristles are usually made of nylon, so they aren’t a 100% biodegradable. Yet they last for almost the same duration that is recommended for plastic toothbrushes (3-4 months).
Stainless Steel/Glass Water Bottles
Steel bottles and flasks cine only in use when you need to carry cold water on long journeys or when you have to get hot tea. Why not make them your regular water bottles then. They are more attractive and most importantly are of a better material. So invest in a good water bottle that limits your use of plastic ones as they are more durable.
Reusable Shopping Bags
This is another plastic commodity that you use on a daily basis. If you think gagging jute is a costly substitution for you, try cloth. It won't cost you even one tenth your expense on your clothes. It is both reusable and biodegradable.
So now you have to choose a different living or the living of every other person using plastic.