One of the biggest advantages of plastic is convenience - it can be moulded into anything easily and would probably be the cheapest available.
But this comes at a cost - the environment.
Unlike other materials, plastic does not disintegrate or decompose on its own and will lie round in nature for centuries, polluting it.
Though there is a growing awareness about the harm plastic can do to our environment, many people are forced to still use them due to the lack of awareness about more eco-friendly alternatives.
The seemingly harmless plastic straws that we use and throw is one of the biggest environmental pollutants in the world.According to the Trash Free Seas Alliance, the average American uses 1.6 straws a day. In the US alone, that’s enough to circle the equator two and a half times.
As an alternative to the plastic ones, Saji Varghese, an English Professor from Christ University, Bengaluru has made eco-friendly, biodegradable straws from coconut leaves.
His organic creation is not only anti-fungal, can also withstand water for more than six hours, with a shelf life of over 12 months.
Eco-friendly carry bags and packing
Another major contributor to the growing plastic pollution is the single-use plastic carry bags. Despite several attempts to ban it these bags continue to be used widely and are often thrown away after use. But there are several eco-friendly and equally useful alternatives for them.Carry bags made from paper, or even leaves stitched together do the job and are easily degradable.
Plastic cutlery has become an integral part of food packaging, especially for online orders. Though there is an option to ask the restaurant not to send them, hardly anyone uses them and this cutlery once again add to our plastic waste problem. One of the ways to make sure that the cutlery is not wasted is to eat them too.
Yes quite literally eat the cutlery. Edible cutlery is a thing and there are several companies, big and small that manufacture these.
Plastic or styrofoam cups are the norm at almost all tea shops, irrespective of which part of the country it is. These, once again are not biodegradable and are hardly processed by recyclers. They often end up in landfills or water bodies, polluting them. The best eco-friendly alternative for these is clay cups and glasses. They are also cheap and eco-friendly and can easily be disposed of after drinking. Buying these clay cups will also help the marginalized people who make them.