Truly, sustainability is the future. No one thought from this point of view in the twentieth-century industrial era because running out of resources was on no one’s mind. Today, the lack of resources is a looming fear relevant to everyone’s lives. This is why environment-friendly, sustainable practices should be adopted by everyone.
The problem is, with the existence of the internet, we have access to a lot of information online. There are so many contradictory opinions out there that confuse well-intentioned people looking to have a better lifestyle.
Some people are not aware of how harmful a product is. Some aggressively preach about the harmfulness of some products. Let us discuss a few plastic products that are certainly harmful to the environment and some that are actually good!
Products that Harm
This example is quite famous. You may have heard of the campaign called ‘Saved the Turtles’. If you do not know what it was about, it was a campaign to end the use of plastic straws because of their detrimental effects on marine life. This is extremely true! In the US alone, there are about 500 million straws used per day. This leads to unbelievable amounts of waste. A lot of that waste ends up in oceans disrupting marine life.
The shape of straws is such that it is very easy for even small marine animals to have them stuck in their digestive or breathing tracks. This means almost certain death for these marine animals unless they are rescued. A good alternative to plastic straws is metal or glass straws. These can be reused for a long time and come with a specialized brush for cleaning. This is an amazing practice that reduces waste and saves lives!
Plastic Shopping Bags
In many countries now, plastic bags are banned by law. Rightfully so, because plastic bags are an extremely pesky form of waste. They crumble up and can get stuck anywhere! When straw dogs or cats roam around in garbage dumps for food, they sometimes find these plastic bags instead. They end up either getting their heads stuck in them completely, restricting their airflow. Or they consume them.
Both are horrible outcomes of using plastic bags. Almost 100 million plastic bags pass hands in the US each day alone. This can be reduced significantly if alternatives like biodegradable paper bags, cloth bags, and shopping buckets are introduced.
Helium balloons when popped can be a fire hazard. Not only this, but when balloons break down, they look very similar to food to animals. Balloons are one of the most common things found in the stomach of dead animals. The stretchy rubber material wraps around internal organs and leads to these animals being starved to death.
Plastic Bottles and Cups
Although plastic bottles are usually recyclable, too many of them end up going to waste. They end up adding to water pollution or add to landfills. These are so easy to replace since most people already have metal thermoses or more permanent plastic bottles at home. Companies like Starbucks also tend to offer more permanent cups that you can ask to refill the next time you visit an outlet.
Products that are Okay
Takeout boxes that you dispose of quickly are bad for the environment, but Tupperware that you use long-term is fine! Sturdy plastic boxes to store food are usually used for quite a long time by people. They do not lead to a lot of waste. So they are perfectly fine to use.
As long as the plastic toys have large components, so they are not a choking hazard for babies, they are completely fine to use. The trend of having all ‘natural’ toys for babies is admirable, but not very necessary. They usually lead to people getting too stressed and confused about sustainability and end up abandoning all efforts.
This is counterintuitive to the initial efforts. Plastic toys are usually used long-term. When their children have grown up, people usually tend to donate the old toys to charities like Goodwill.
Products like plastic buckets and other everyday products that are usable for a few years at least are actually not as harmful as metal buckets or replacements made of metal.
It actually requires a lot more fuel to process and manufacture metal products than plastic products. It requires a lot of heat to melt and work with metal. Not to mention it is much heavier, so a lot more fuel is required for transport. A plastic bucket manufacturing company burns much less fuel and thus much less air pollution, being more sustainable overall.
You have probably sensed a trend in this article by now. Basically, plastic products that are extremely mass-produced and discarded immediately after use are horrible for the environment. They end up in landfills or in the ocean. They destroy the habitats of a lot of animal species. They also end up being consumed by mammals and marine animals leading to their deaths.
Products that have greater longevity on the other hand are actually relatively better for the environment than metal alternatives.