Why Plastic is bad
It is an undisputed fact that plastic and its effects have been one of the most discussed topics across the globe. The negative effects of plastic and their impact on the environment is hot. People are becoming aware of the issues surrounding the use of plastic and how we can move forward. But, while people are saying different things about how and why we should consider using fewer plastic products, exactly why is plastic so harmful? This article will briefly explain 13 Reasons Why Plastic is bad & 5 product ideas that can replace plastic.
Now, Why Plastic is so bad for the environment and accordingly, for humans?
1. Plastics take hundreds of years to decompose
Plastic products, especially disposable plastics, such as bags and straws, do not degrade completely and remain in the environment for hundreds (even thousands) of years. Instead of completely degrading, most plastics break down slowly, throwing small pieces of plastic into the environment where wildlife can ingest them.
This leads to the contamination of groundwater sources, as well as rivers and streams.
2. Plastics affect our oceans
The damage to our oceans is an alarming aspect of the use of plastics.
The strays of plastic floating in the water are killing the creatures that inhabit the ocean. Fish and other creatures living in the water usually confuse plastic for real food. Marine life ingests plastic particles and, as we produce more single-use plastics, the problem is only getting worse.
Plastic can also be found washing ashore, years after being thrown into the sea. Its durability as a material makes it almost impossible to eliminate from the environment. This can have a striking impact on the pristine natural beaches and the environment at large.
Read more about the effects of plastic pollution in the ocean.
3. Plastic never goes away
Plastic is a material designed to last forever. Yet, we use 33% of all plastic (water bottles, bags and straws) once and throw them away. Plastic does not biodegrade, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces.
4. Plastic affects human health
Plastic release toxic chemicals. These chemicals fin their way to the blood and tissue of almost all humans. Being exposed to the toxic chemicals released links to cancer, birth defects, immunity deficiency, endocrine disorders and other diseases.
5. Plastic spoils our groundwater
The toxic chemicals contained in the plastics flow under our landfills and infiltrate into the groundwater, then flow into lakes and rivers.
6. Plastic attracts other contaminants
The chemicals in plastic that make them rigid and flexible (e.g. bisphenols, flame retardants, phthalates and other harmful chemicals) are oily poisons that don’t absorb water and also stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic waste. Therefore, toxic chemicals released from plastics can accumulate in other plastics. The growing amount of plastic waste accumulated in the world’s oceans is a serious source of concern.
7. Plastic threatens wildlife
Wild animals get entangled in plastic. They consume it or confuse it for food and feed it to their offspring. Plastics are scattered in extremely remote areas of the earth. In our oceans alone, plastic waste exceeds zooplankton in a ratio of 36: 1.
8. Plastic accumulates in the environment
Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year and only 8% are recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, gets burnt or becomes garbage. In Canada, we use up to 15 billion plastic bags and 57 million straws yearly. 640,000 tons are abandoned and discarded every year.
Read more about Plastic Pollution Facts.
9. Plastic poisons our food chain
Even the plankton, the smallest creature in our oceans, eats microplastics and absorb their dangerous chemicals. Small pieces of plastic displace the algae needed to maintain a larger marine life that feeds them.
10. To abate plastic cost billions
Everything suffers (tourism, leisure, business, human health, animals, fish and birds) because of plastic pollution. The financial damage inflicted permanently is invaluable.
11. They are so cheap!
In general, you do not think that something cheap is bad, right? But the problem is that plastic is so cheap that it is extremely difficult to convince manufacturers to switch to alternative biodegradable containers. The cost of these alternatives may vary, but having a biodegradable packaging can be 2 to 10 times more expensive than plastic.
12. They are made from non-sustainable products
Coal, oil and natural gas are products commonly used in the manufacture of plastics. Currently, public opinion on non-renewables in the energy and transport sectors is at best. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the majority of the population agrees that such use of coal, oil and gas in the manufacture of plastics is unnecessary.
13. They are invisible
Another reason why plastics are bad is that they are invisible. Sometimes they are so small that you cannot see them without a microscope.
You may recall that the British government banned microplastics in toiletries such as toothpaste, body scrubs and lotions. The decision was made when sewers brought these microplastics into aquatic ecosystems and pose a high risk to local wildlife.
Read more about What is microplastic?
How can we help stop plastic pollution?
In addition to cleaning our oceans, which is a very important, but not a long-term solution, the best way to combat plastic pollution is to change our mentality and habits with this controversial but still very useful material:
To effectively reduce plastic pollution, it is clearly necessary to reduce the use of plastic. It means changing our daily behaviours, and not to use plastics when there is a better alternative.
If plastic is mismanaged or mishandled, it can cause contamination. As a result, many plastic items can be reused or used for different purposes. Before throwing plastic objects, it is important to think about how they can be reused.
Plastic recycling involves collecting plastic waste and turning it into new products to reduce the amount of plastic in the waste stream. Throw them in the recycling bin if you can find one.
Another crucial solution is education to raise awareness and change behaviour.
After we discussed 13 Reasons Why Plastic is bad, here are 4 product ideas that can replace plastic
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1. Use Beeswax Wraps instead of Plastic Wraps
Beeswax Wrap is a food packaging material consisting of a coated fabric, more commonly cotton. It is made by infusing cotton with food-grade beeswax, resin, coconut oil, jojoba oil. The wrap is moldable and sticky. It can be moulded around containers or food products. Beeswax wrap is a sustainable and reusable alternative to plastic wraps.
What I like about these wraps that it is breathable and allows food to stay fresh longer, reducing food wastage. It is also washable, which makes it re-usable. I recommend you wash them with COLD water after every use. I used Beeswax Wraps before and usually, they can be used more than 200 times.
If you’d like to have a roll and you cut it go for 75 x 14 inches Beeswax wraps from “Bees4Sees”
Don’t wash them with hot water. The heat will melt the wax on it and will become useless.
2. Use Bamboo Plates for Travels and Family Gathering
Bamboo plates are made from natural wood and leaves. The bamboo plates and cutlery are not only environmentally friendly but also beautiful, flexible and durable. The bamboo plates and cutleries are perfect for wedding receptions, parties or other events requiring a waterproof, grease-proof and 100% biodegradable dinnerware. Bamboo plates are the perfect alternative for everyone using disposable plastic plates.
They are made from trees, which is way better than plastics. Especially if we used trees the right way. You can read more about How Deforestation Can be Environmentally Friendly?
3. Use Bamboo Toothbrush instead of the plastic ones
Bamboo toothbrush is similar to a plastic toothbrush. The difference is that the handle is made of bamboo instead. Bamboo toothbrushes may seem like a new eco-friendly item, but in the real sense, they are the oldest type of toothbrushes before the plastic discovery.
4. Use Produce bags for Shopping
This is another perfect alternative to plastics. Produce bags are a fairly new idea aimed at reducing the use of disposable plastics. The produce bags are perfect for shopping and also very easy to transport. They are more durable and good for storing foods as compared to plastic bags.
Conclusion on 13 Reasons Why Plastic is bad & 4 product ideas can replace plastic
In conclusion, plastics are harmful to man, animals, and the environment. The perfect step that can be taken is to play your part to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment and also save yourself from the future harm that the plastics could cause. One of the positive steps that can be taken is to opt for sustainable and environmentally friendly products like Beeswax wrap, bamboo plate, and bamboo toothbrush and produce bags.