Non-biodegradable plastics is a more feasible and cost-effective option for people looking to buy plastic items for everyday use. They are useful in the long term and do not put pressure on your purse either. The advantage of plastics is that they can be recycled and reused. The issue with safe disposal practices lies with the people’s negligent attitude and improper disposal habits. When used (and reused) right, it can save a lot of money considering the fact that biodegradable items are almost 2 to 10 times more expensive than plastics which is an unreasonable expectation from people belonging to underdeveloped and developing countries. The most economical option then would be to opt for plastics and to properly dispose them off.
The latest trending approach is to opt for biodegradable plastics which are a better option for the environment. Nonetheless, they are not the most eco-friendly product out there and are still a more expensive option than plastics. These bioplastics require technical and industrial knowledge for their decomposition and cannot not be composted like your regular biodegradables either. In addition to this, bioplastics may release methane. As they take more resources to produce, their cost is also increased.
Biodegradability and reusing are issues for bioplastics as well. The principal issue is that there are a variety of kinds of biodegradability. Some bioplastics biodegrade with oxygen and bright radiation, so litter left out in the sun will corrupt. Be that as it may, it does not totally break down, the interaction requires years, and it discharges harmful synthetics. A few plastics are intended to biodegrade when treated the soil, and this is an issue if the buyer doesn’t compost. A couple of types will compost in a back yard fertilizer canister while the rest require modern fertilizing of the soil. This results in a ton of disarray for consumers. More regrettably, disintegration of bioplastics discharges methane, which is a more unsafe ozone depleting substance than carbon dioxide.
Biodegradable materials generally tend to lack durability and stability, giving them a shorter shelf life. All of these reasons render plastics a more feasible option for people who cannot afford to spend much. Plastics are a more viable option if recycled and reused right. Let us look at ways through which we can recycle and transform plastic waste to suit our needs and that of the environment.
Advantages of Recycling
- Reduced energy consumption
When we recycle plastics, we reduce the amount of energy being used to a great extent. Through recycling we can save a lot of energy that goes into the manufacturing processes. We can reduce energy usage by 66%. Using recycled plastics in the manufacturing can cause a great positive impact with our combined efforts. It also reduces the greenhouse emissions that would otherwise be released and the global energy consumption also goes down. The amount of energy a two-person house would use in a year is equal to the amount of energy saved by using recycled plastics to create one tonne of bottles.
- Reduced consumption of raw materials
It is also important to realize that the raw materials available are limited and through recycling we can conserve these resources to last us for longer time. Every ton of plastic recycled 1000-2000 tonnes of gasoline is saved. Imagine the quantity of raw materials we can conserve if we collectively recycled.
- Pollution can be decreased
When we recycle, we reduce the amount of industrial waste being produced and consequently the pollution it creates. Waste is not deposited in landfills and is instead being reused.
Steps to start recycling at home:
- Create a recycling centre
- Set up separate bins to segregate waste based on their level of degradability
- Teach/educate your family
- Set up a ‘how to recycle’ chart near the bins
- Start your ‘recycle and reuse’ journey at home
These small steps can go a long way in helping us reduce the impact on the environment while maintaining our expenses.
Creative ways to save and reuse plastic items in your home
- Use plastic bottles as small planters and for germinating seeds.
- Reuse plastic containers to store other items
- DIY bird feeders and pencil cases
- Reuse to make self-watering plants
- DIY pen stand, brush stand, knife stand, etc.
There are many more such ways to channel the inner designer/artist in you while being environmentally and economically friendly.
Other effective ways of utilizing plastic waste effectively
- Construction of roads – An excellent way of putting large tons of plastic waste to effective use is constructing roads. This strategy is being implemented in many countries including India. Roads are relatively easy to construct and do not require regular maintenance. They also happen to be quite durable and last about 3x longer than the asphalt ones making it a perfect solution to the disposal question.
- Converting plastic to oil – Some new companies have started converting plastic into different varieties of oil. This will definitely change the future of plastics and their reuse.
- Using plastic in packaging – Many cosmetic and other beauty brands have now begin selling their products in recycled plastic cartons. This effort goes a long way in managing plastic waste.
In today’s world that is constantly branching out with advancements and updates, the plastic problem can be efficiently tackled. Plastics have the advantage of being cheap and accessible making it a necessity in many households throughout the world. The disposal issue can be dealt with effectively by reusing and recycling the plastics we use. There is a myriad of ways to do this. Plastics can be recycled to construct almost anything. In fact, in many parts of the world people have come up with houses built from plastic itself. Necessity is the mother of invention, therefore, instead of forcing expensive eco-friendly items on people, we can recycle and rebuild so much with what we have. However, it is essential to keep in mind that with usage of non-biodegradable materials comes the responsibility of safe disposal. Sustainable consumption of all natural resources is the responsibility of all the citizens of the world.