On June 23rd, the Devendra Fadnavis led Maharashtra government announced a strict ban on plastic in the state. While several relaxations have since made it possible for businesses to survive the ban, environmentalists throughout the country and especially in the state have celebrated this step.
Sometimes, a change could be difficult. But each one of us wants to live in a better world, a cleaner place and a greener planet. So why are we complaining now?
Let us look at ways in which we can reduce the use of plastic in our homes and daily lives:
Too many toothbrushes end up reaching the garbage and very few are segregated by homeowners as plastic waste. Most of the time, all the garbage without being segregated reaches the landfills where they continue to live forever since plastic does not decompose. Plastic toothbrushes are replaceable, but few of us bother to learn about these alternatives because of the easy availability of plastic tooth brushes in stores.
Bamboo toothbrushes are an excellent alternative to these plastic toothbrushes. Bamboo does not harm the environment like plastic which makes it very viable for all homes. While it may not come as cheap as plastic, the price of bamboo toothbrushes is reasonable enough for the average nine-fiver to buy it.
- Disposable Cutlery
A 2016 circular published by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change explains that people who organize events in the open should take responsibility for the safe disposal of all plastic packaging or serving materials used for the event. But many events see the indiscriminate use of plastic cutlery with very less thought to its impact on the environment.
Switching to paper plates or plates made of leaves and using disposable cutlery made out of bamboo can be healthy for the environment.
- Plastic bags
Plastic bags have become ubiquitous. Their presence in the society is on a love-hate basis. People complain about its harmful impacts but are just not able to give up its usefulness. We are habituated to using plastic bags for shopping, for discarding garbage, and for even storing important items in them for later use. Plastic bags are too common for people to imagine life without them, but aren’t we forgetting the fact that it was invented by us which means that people had actually lived without plastic bags for a long time.
Bringing back the paper bags is the best step towards ending the ‘plastic bag woe’. Newspapers were earlier recycled into big and small bags which were used by local stores for selling loose items. It’s time that we reversed time and returned to the same age of paper bags for the sake of our planet’s future.
- Plastic Straws
People all over the world are rallying against the use of plastic straws because of the immeasurable harm they cause on our environment. Animals, birds and marine life face a threat from straws and several other plastic products which either lay strewn on the streets, around garbage dumping areas, in landfills and in the oceans. We have to stop this.
Glass, metal and paper straws are becoming the new trend in restaurants. Where straws aren’t necessary, they are being completely avoided. If you happen to visit a restaurant which uses plastic straws, do your bit by avoiding the straw and sipping on your drink directly from the glass.
- Coffee Cups
Caffeine is a life saver for many workaholics who simply can’t imagine a single day without coffee. The only problem is that many coffee lovers end up drinking coffee in plastic cups or paper cups lined with plastic. Using a straw makes it even worse.
Ditch the coffee cup and carry your own cup if you are planning to visit a coffee shop. It will save you the whole dilemma of harming the environment as you sip on a hot cuppa. Stores like Starbucks offer you a discount when you carry your own cup.
- Plastic hangers
Plastic hangers come cheap but a price, much dearer, is paid by our environment for it. We can avoid plastic hangers and pick wooden or metal hangers which are less harmful when the time comes to discard them.
- Plastic water bottles
Plastic water bottles are another bane in the society. Try carrying water with you when you travel. This will save you from buying plastic water bottles. Pick glass or metal as an alternative for water bottles in home too.
Store water in your fridge in these glass bottles which are safe and do not hurt the planet’s ecosystem.
Take home message
Plastic is difficult to banish completely from our lives. It is an invention that has insidiously found its way to every home in every corner of Earth. While we can’t bring an absolute end to plastic, we can at least, take steps towards reducing its use in our homes and the society we live in. By saving our planet, not only do we leave a better legacy for our children, but we also improve the quality of lives we lead.