is widely used in various forms such as food containers, water bottles, baby bottles, plastic wraps, and many more things. Most of the things that we use in our daily lives have plastic in some of the other form. It is merely impossible to get rid of all the plastic that we use. However, it is convenient to use plastic wisely by understanding the health risks and environmental harms associated with it. There certainly exists good plastic as well as bad plastic.
Choosing the Safe Plastic
Plastic is associated with many health risks as it contains chemicals that are known to be the hormone-disruptors that leach into the food and beverages we consume. Plastics are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable material and cannot be replenished through a natural process. Yet, plastic is the most functional material that humans have ever come up with. We depend upon plastics to such an extent that we literally cannot imagine a life totally without it.
The problem is that we are not very good at disposing of plastics and that is why it is only fair that we stop using it. Or else we must begin to move towards more intelligent materials that are not just designed for front-end functionality, but also for back-end principles of recovery.
“Recycle, Recover, Dispose Of”
The future of plastic must not be about increasing its front-end functionality; it should rather be about adopting the right kind of plastics in order to allow better recyclability, recoverability, and disposability. However, we must still remember that no plastic is safe; some plastics are considered good or safe-to-use only because there is no sufficient research to prove that they harm us or the planet.
Good Plastic and Bad Plastic
To be able to break down the concept of good and bad plastic we have categorized plastics into three categories.
Good Plastic– The plastic that does not leach or disrupt any hormones and is not suspected to cause cancer is good plastic. Some of the good plastics that you come across in your day-to-day lives include soft drink, ketchup, peanut butter, pickle and salad dressing bottles, ice-cream tubs, grocery, trash, and retail bags.
Ok, Plastic– These are plastics that are just ok to use because they are hazardous when they are produced and later not known to leach chemicals, cause cancer or disrupt hormones. The ok plastics that you use are bread bags, frozen food bags, and squeezable bottles.
Bad Plastic– These are plastics that either have human carcinogens causing cancer or disrupt hormones and are less recyclable than better plastics. The bad plastics that you use include cling-wrapped meats, cheese and other foods sold in meat shops as well as grocery stores. The plastic coating on metal cans, microwave ovenware, and baby bottles are also bad plastic that must be avoided.
“Do something drastic, cut the plastic”
Tips to Avoid Bad Plastic
To ensure that you avoid the bad plastic and reduce the usage of ok plastics, here are some tips that can help you-
- Avoid using plastic in the microwave as they leach harmful chemicals when heated
- Avoid warming food in plastic that says ‘microwave safe’ as it does not mean that it doesn’t leach chemicals.
- Use stainless steel or glass to store food
- Use plastic alternatives like glass containers with you even when you go out
- Buy food in glass containers
- Avoid using bottles made from polycarbonate like your baby bottles. Instead, use glass bottles or those made of safer plastic.
- After drinking the water from bottled water immediately keep it away from heat to avoid leaching of chemicals
- Do not reuse bottles or food containers that are made for one-time use
- Avoid plastic cutlery and dinnerware. Instead, use wooden spoons and cutlery and steel plates for everyday use
- Avoid plastics that are not recyclable. Instead choose cotton bags, bamboo straws, and disposable plastics
- Buy bio-based plastic alternatives wherever possible like biodegradable sanitary napkins
It is almost impossible to get rid of plastic completely. Hence we all must understand the effects of various plastics on our planet and choose the better plastic in order to save it.
Let’s Save the World “Together”