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5 actionable ways to reduce personal plastic pollution

This seems to be a age old topic and mostly people already know how they can reduce plastic pollution on a personal level. Me for one, had though people around me had became more sensitive to this topic and many have realised the ill effects of using and throwing plastic. Yet, over the past couple of months I realised that it is not the case and there are still considerable number of people around me who know, yet don’t act on reducing their own plastic usage, thus plastic pollution.

I visited a beach in Kokan area and saw a family where the kid was burying his plastic toys in the sand and then trying to find it. The father and mother were ignorant of this which made me go up to the kid and explain to him that all the plastic that he is burying right now, ig going to go into the sea at some point, polluting it. A extremely small amount, but yes it will go in the sea!

This article, I would try to focus on actionable insights on personal plastic reduction rather than the whole scale schemes that are generally spread over the internet, in a hope that people would use these key points and actually act on it!

The number one thing to remember is that there is extremely low qty of recyclable plastic! Please keep this in mind whenever you are opening a small candy wrapper. Theoretically, all the plastic is recyclable, but there are huge hurdles in the process making dumping plastic a extremely easy and low cost solution for getting rid of plastic.

  • Many times, objects contain numerous types of plastic and distinct layers that are difficult to separate and make recycling complicated and expensive.

  • Plastics are frequently polluted by food and other things, rendering the resins unfit for reuse.

  • Recycling facilities cost millions of dollars to create and operate, and they can only be profitable if a massive amount of plastic is processed every day. Due to low efficiencies and high costs, small quantities of plastics can make recycling uneconomical and unbeneficial.

5 personally actionable things to reduce plastic pollution:

1. Wean yourself off disposable plastics.

This is the biggest favour you can do yourself and to the earth. Take a moment to think about this. Literally all the things that we purchase are wrapped in plastic, single use plastic. Candy, chocolate, all the packed food items, toothpaste, brush, your dish scrub and the list will continue for a long time! Take some time to reduce at-least 5-6 of these items in your daily usage. For ex: If you love a nice morning cup of coffee, instead of easily purchasing the packed coffee in fancy glittering plastic bags find the nearest coffee beans vendor and purchase the coffee there, packing it in your own container you can take from home. Apart from saving on the plastic wrapper, you also get nice fresh coffee which is not processed in a factory!

2. Boycott artificial cosmetic scrubber:

Every used a scrubber? Remember the small small particles which feel soft and yet scrub your face? Those are plastic in nature! You are essentially using plastic to scrub your face. All low quality scrubbers use plastic. That’s just one aspect of it.

Those micro beads or scrubbers move past the drainage quickly, uncaught by water treatment plants and end up in the ocean. Fish’s see them as food and consume them, increasing the toxicity in our seafood. The circle completes!

Opt for natural scrubbers, preferentially made at home. That will reduce the plastic consumption of the outer wrapper as well. Oats / Tumeric / Salt are excellent natural exfoliants alternatives for scrub, just ensure they are purchased in a recycled paper bag!

3. When out for dinner, always ask the attendant for glass of water: People who buy a plastic water bottle in a high end restaurant where RO water can easily be served have a special place reserved in hell!

This is literally the first thing you can change if you are also one of those who purchase bottled water when go to dinner or lunch. It’s really surprising that the restaurant owners or managers don’t give a suggestion of normal water instead of bottled one, if you remember, generally the options are between cold bottled water or room temperature bottled water. The plastic water bottle might have all signs of recycling logos on it, but do remember important fact that not all of the bottles are recycled.

4. Say no to Plastic bags: Age old truth, but hardly followed. When ever you go out to purchase any grocery or any other item, always carry a bag with you. This bag might be of multiple use plastic, or paper or cloth. You can use your backpack for this too, it is convenient as well.

The simplest example is to take your own bag to grocery shopping but now a days, since the stores have started charging for plastic bags, everyone makes a point to bring their own cloth or backpack bags.

Remember one golden rule, the more glittery the plastic is on the outside, the more harmful the product is for you and the wrapper is for the earth!

5. Spread the word: It is important to make others also to come to terms with this. When out in a restaurant with a friend, let him know you purposely choose to take the tap water instead of plastic bottled one to save the environment. Let your kids or younger friends know that each time they purchase any glittery plastic wrapped chocolate or any food item, they are not only harming their body but the planet as well. There are many methods to enjoy these treats, which come in environment friendly wrappings.

We are all aware that plastic is a problem. Despite its many advantages - low cost, ease of manufacture, flexibility, and accessibility - it is becoming increasingly clear that plastic waste is out of control and wreaking havoc on the environment. Every year, 12 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean, and scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep within Arctic ice.

What factors contribute to plastic pollution?

There are numerous causes of plastic pollution, but we've highlighted the most prominent ones below. Some of these causes are difficult to address, but understanding them can help us make more informed purchasing decisions.

We generate a lot of waste. Much of our waste is made of plastic, and as a society, we produce a lot of litter. We could make a difference in this area if we were less wasteful.

Nets for commercial fishing. While fishing nets are sometimes necessary, they can leak toxins, break and pollute oceans, and even remain permanently and trap sea life. Better management and stricter fishing regulations are required.

Plastic disposal has been mismanaged. So much plastic is not recycled when it should be; instead, it ends up in landfills or is scattered across the landscape. It is also frequently burned, releasing fossil fuels and polluting the atmosphere.

Time for decomposition Plastic takes over 400 years to decompose, which is an extremely long time given the amount of plastic we need to get rid of.

Pollution is spread by nature. Due to the common lightweight nature of plastic, the wind, rivers, and ocean can all naturally spread pollution.

Plastic overuse. The most significant cause is that we produce far too much plastic. We simply cannot manage the amount of waste produced.

Why is plastic waste harming the environment?

While the focus of this article will be on what you can do individually to reduce plastic waste, it's worth noting some of the ways that plastic is harming the planet and those who live on it. Check out the comprehensive guide to climate change here for more information.

It upends the food chain: This occurs in a variety of ways, but one notable example is animals eating plastics, which is then passed down the food chain and harms the health of these animals.

It is potentially hazardous to human health: Plastics in our food supply can also have a negative impact on our health because we are consuming poisonous substances.

Groundwater pollution can have an impact on our water supply: Plastics in our water supplies can release a variety of harmful toxins, which then enter our bodies.

It is toxic to animals: Plastic is not only harmful to humans, but it can also harm or even kill animals. Marine animals are frequently caught in nets, while land animals suffocate in plastic bags.

It pollutes the land, air, and water: Plastic causes all types of pollution; we've already discussed land and water pollution, but it also causes air pollution simply by being created.

Plastic waste removal is time-consuming and costly. The amount of plastic waste in the world is so massive that getting rid of it is extremely difficult and expensive.


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