Cause, Effects & Solution of Plastic Waste
Plastic waste is one of the world’s favorite packaging materials – it’s cheap, practical and hard wearing but its durability is part of the problem. Consumers are seeking for the alternative as its cons are way scary then humans ever imagined.
For those who think they are Eco-friendly, walking in a supermarket is a bit terrifying. From chocolate biscuits to toothpaste, razors to cigarettes, low-cost products wrapped in plastic line supermarket shelves around the world.
Some of the leading manufacturers are showing their potential by trying to find the solution to this plastic waste problem.
- Could plant-based plastics help in reducing waste pollution?
- World Business Report: Hostels built with plastic waste
- Industry ‘exaggerates recycling success’
- The inventions cutting plastic consumption
- What is your chosen supermarket doing to fight plastic?
Tipa is an Israeli company that makes compostable plastic packaging. It features a multi-layer film made out of plant-based polymers which disintegrates in the heat and humidity of a home compost heap.
British firm Snack, which sells fruit snacks made from food waste, uses Tipa’s “bioplastic” packaging.
The following 10 facts shed light on how plastic is proving dangerous to human health. To learn more about the threat and impact of plastic pollution and get tips to reduce your plastic consumption.
- A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey produced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that BPA was found in 93% of urine samples taken from people above the age of six.
- Bisphenol A is also known as BPA, used to make billions of plastic beverage
- containers, dinnerware, protective linings of food cans and toys, is considered an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can both decrease or increase endocrine activity in humans and cause adverse health effects.
- Based on the weight of existing evidence, it is likely that elevated urinary BPA levels are associated with prostate cancer in humans and may be an independent diagnostic marker in prostate cancer patients.
- Some animal studies have indicated adverse effects of BPA on newborns and fetuses.
- Breast milk of most women in the developed world contains dozens of compounds including BPA that have been linked to negative health effects.
- Growing literature links many Phthalates, which are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break, with a variety of adverse outcomes including weight gain and insulin resistance, decreased levels of sex hormones, and other consequences for the human reproductive system both for females and males.
- When food is wrapped in plastic containing BPA, phthalates may leak into the food. Any migration is likely to be greater when in contact with fatty foods such as meats and cheeses than with other foods.
- In general, it is not recommended to heat food in plastic containers with codes 3 and 7. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service advise Americans not to reuse margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, and other one-time use containers, which are more likely to melt and cause chemicals to leach into food.
- The label BPA-free in a container of the bottle doesn’t mean a product is free from other harmful chemical compounds that are slightly different but have a different name.
BPA is an industrial chemical that may find its way into your food and beverages. Some experts claim that it is toxic and that people should make an effort to avoid it. But you may wonder if it’s really that harmful. This article provides a detailed review of BPA and its health effects.
Common products that may contain BPA include:
Items packaged in plastic containers
- Canned foods
- Feminine hygiene products
- Thermal printer receipts
- CDs and DVDs
- Household electronics
- Eyeglass lenses
- Sports equipment
- Dental filling sealants
The most dangerous emissions can be caused by burning plastics containing organochlorine -based substances like PVC. When such plastics are burned, harmful quantities of dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemicals are emitted. Dioxins are the most toxic to human organisms. They are carcinogenic and a hormone disruptor and persistent, and they accumulate in our body-fat and thus mothers give it directly to their babies via the placenta. Dioxins also settle on crops and in our waterways where they eventually wind up in our food, accumulate in our bodies and are passed on to our children.
Recently a case of open waste burning is recorded in Chhibramau a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Where the waste of the whole town is submitted to fire, results in heavy air pollution, toxic gaseous chemicals released during the burning of plastic include nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and polycyclic organic matter (POMs – a solid residue leftover). Burning plastic also releases heavy metals and toxic chemicals such as dioxin.
All of these would not be released by burning plastic. It depends on the kind of plastic burning. PVC – polyvinyl chloride, releases HCl if it is burnt.
These harmful gases result in Asthma, Lung Cancer, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Leukemia, Pneumonia, Birth defects, and immune system defects, Autism, Weakening of Lung Function, Cardiovascular Diseases, Premature Deaths.
This shows the failure of proper waste treatment procedure of Municipality as all the used waste is dumped either on the side of roads or burn into ashes. With garbage hills piling up and systemic failure in the way the corporations are running, everything has come to a standstill. Municipal authorities are bound to establish and maintain storage facilities as they do not create unhygienic and unsanitary conditions. For these storage facilities shall be created keeping in view the quantity of waste generation and accessibility trousers. It should not be open, aesthetically acceptable and user-friendly.
What You Can Do to End Plastic Pollution.
Ready to help us in the global campaign to end plastic pollution? Learn more with the earth-day network then follow the suggestions below.
Reduce your own plastic waste. Start by using the plastic calculator to track how much you use — then you can take steps to reduce your use and waste.
- use reusable shopping and produce bags to markets, and avoid using single-use plastic bags.
- use a reusable coffee cup when going out to get beverages.
- Like sipping through straws? Get a reusable stainless steel, glass, or bamboo one to use instead of wasteful plastic ones.
- do not water in plastic bottles, invest in a water filter and reusable water bottle.
- Make your own reusable cloth bags from old t-shirts, using basic sewing skills.
- Choose clothing and other personal items made from earth-friendly materials instead of microfibers and other synthetic fibers, which pollute our water.
- go for a reusable container to a restaurant with you when you expect to have leftovers.
straws: It’s as simple as adding, “No straw, please” when requesting beverages at restaurants or cafes.
Refuse beverage tops.
Pick up trash in your neighborhood and when visiting parks and beaches, do not throw or let anybody throw waste in the surrounding.
Recycle the plastics you use and no longer need.
Return single-use bags to grocery stores for them to recycle.
Does your city or state have bans on single-use plastics? Send a letter or call your local elected leaders, urging them to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastic items.
Share this article among your friends and family and save this earth by reducing the use of plastic and think about the plastic waste problem.