While humanity has experimented with plastics for centuries, the commercialization of plastic started in the 1940s. In 1950, the global production of plastics was just about 1.5 million metric tons. In the year 2020, this amount has skyrocketed to a shocking 368 million metric tons! This has caused a global crisis, forcing companies to step up and fix the situation before it is too late to correct the course. This type of companyis called zero waste and helps with plastic solid waste management.
Plastic as a pollutant
Plastic is very convenient. No other material has come close to plastic in regards to its convenience while also keeping costs to a minimum. While every plastic is causing the issue, the leading cause is disposable plastics. They are plastic straws, cups, spoons, packaging, and other such items that people only use once before they throw them away.
Plastic has a high degradation time. Most materials like Pakbuck food and paper decompose very fast. This is the way nature works. However, plastic takes nearly 450 years to decompose. This means that even after 100 years, if you dig up a landfill, there will be some plastic found. It is no wonder that it is a global problem.
This plastic starts accumulating with the other plastic that humans have discarded, and this starts polluting the environment. Even if you burn plastic, it won’t help as it will release a lot of deadly chemicals into the atmosphere that will cause air pollution and lead to breathing problems.
Most people discard plastic, and many countries don’t have any system in place to target this plastic. These plastics start affecting the environment, with animals consuming them and suffocating them. Not just that, according to recent studies, a human consumes 1769 microparticles of plastic every week. Plastic is in the water supplies and food. Even pristine locations like the top of mountain peaks and the middle of the ocean contain plastics.
What can we do?
We have to employ the service of a zero waste company. It is one of the most effective methods of plastic solid waste management.It works on three core principles to prevent waste from going to landfills and polluting the environment.
- Reduce – To reduce plastics, we need to use biodegradable materials for disposable items. India has already banned single-use plastics. People can use straws and plates made of paper. Forks and spoons made of repurposed wood or bamboo are much better for the environment.
- Reuse – How many shopping bags do people have in their houses? Instead of taking a shopping bag from the store, if people bring their own, then this will cause a massive reduction in the demand for plastic shopping bags. One can even carry cloth bags with them and refuse a bag if there are only one or two items.
- Recycle – Plastic containers have a lot of use. One can use them for gardening as pots or even use them for art. On a larger scale, plastic is collected by companies to be melted and used to make products again. As a consumer, you mustbuy only those plastic products that can be recycled and purchase recycled plastics without discrimination.
By following these three core pillars, humanity can finally start its journey toward the correct path.