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Polluted Planet: Plastic Waste

Plastic waste

The Waste

When you are buying a plastic bag or a carry bag next time, remember that you are contributing a lot towards the degradation of this planet. Plastic is a major pollutant that will degrade the planet for thousands of years. Since it contains non bio-degradable substances in it, plastic will ultimately lead to other pollutions. One fateful thing about plastic is the fact that you can never find a safe way to dispose plastic materials.

Plastic causes great levels of pollution during production as well as during disposal. Hence, the only way to stop plastic waste is by stop using it once and for all. The major components of plastic contain Benzene and Vinyl Chloride that might cause cancer and other health related hazards. These chemicals seriously affect the balance of the ecosystem and that might pose various health hazards.

The Origin

Plastics are widely used because they are cheap and last for a long time. Unfortunately, these same factors make plastic very hazardous. Increase in population has also increased the usage of plastics in urban areas. When you throw plastic in land, it will go into the drainage lines of sewage plants and will block them. This also leads to major floods. Once such occasion is the Mumbai Floods in 1998.

Origin of plastic pollution can be easily traced back to the usage of plastic bottles, containers or recycled plastics. We use these substances and then throw them out. This increases the level of plastic waste and thus plastic pollution increases.

The Impact

More than 23 million tonnes of the earth waste every year is composed of plastic. Plastic do not decay or decompose like wood hence they have a bigger impact on this planet. There are not loads of methods to decompose plastic. You either throw it out or you burn it. If you throw it out, it will lead to sewage blockage as mentioned above. If you choose to burn it, it will emit toxic substances into the environment and that will result in air and water pollution.

The soil in which plastic is buried or burnt becomes unsuitable for agricultural purposes. The amount of agricultural land is getting reduced drastically and plastic will reduce it to a greater extent. People working in plastic recycling plants too will be affected greatly.

Green Alternatives

1. Liquid wood

Liquid wood

Many new products such as toys, speakers and even figurines are getting made out of an interesting source known as liquid wood. Arboform known as the bio-plastic is getting mixed with substances like foam and fibers to make this liquid wood. According to its manufacturers, this product will replace plastic in the coming days. Petroleum based plastics use crude oil as the base for production. Since the price of crude oil is increasing at a rapid rate, it becomes necessary to find better alternatives to it.

The producers of this product wanted to make an alternative to oil based things. Hence they wanted literally any material that is available in abundance. Hence, they chose Lignin which is available in large amounts as a by product of paper making process. Hence they made a composite material out of Lignin. Thus, they combined the high stability of wood with with molding capacity of plastic to make liquid wood.

2. An alternative to plastic, grown from Mushrooms

Mushroom

Ecovative is a good material and if used in a correct way it can have a great impact on the planet. Plastic is non biodegradable and cannot be easily recycled but people kept on using it since it was cheap and had many uses. Many people could not find an alternative to it.

Ecovative is a mixture of rice husks and hulls of oat that are grown using mushroom base to produce materials that are super strong, fire resistant and use no heat or electricity. These materials are already being used on the sidebars and bumpers of cars. But in the coming days its usage can grow to a greater extent. Million dollars worth of investments has been made towards the development of Ecovative and hence you can see this material in the market in the coming days.

3. Corn-based plastic

Corn based Plastic

Many materials are getting produced from materials like corn and other corn based substances. One such material is the recyclable bags that are made from corn based products. These bags are biodegradable and can be used as an effective alternative to plastic bags that are harmful to the environment.

You might expect these products to be expensive but they are actually cheap than plastic materials. They are also as strong as the plastic bags.

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