Tuesday, June 6, 2023

You can beat plastic pollution: Recycle more, waste less

Let’s face it, we are dependent on plastic. From the time we wake up till we wind up for the day, we use plastic in some form or the other – toothbrushes, coffee cups, water bottles, pens, garbage bags… the list goes on. Convenient, durable, and cost-effective, plastic has become an intrinsic part of our daily life.

This dependence, however, is proving to be costly and it’s our planet that’s paying the price. More than half of the plastic used is in the form of single-use products like bottles, carry bags, packaging, straws, and spoons. Products that we use for a few minutes stay in the environment for a really long time – it takes from 500-1000 years for plastic to completely decompose.

The earth is groaning under the weight of plastic—we are producing nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year globally. And that’s just one of the many alarming plastic pollution stats. Fact is, plastic is choking our land and water, posing a serious threat to our planet, ecosystems, and people. Countries across the world have recognized plastic pollution as a major crisis.

Currently, India generates around 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste every year. The government has banned the use of plastic in several states and recently announced a ban on importing solid plastic waste. While the government sets policies in place to tackle this threat, each one of us needs to do our bit to beat plastic pollution.

This International Plastic Bag Free Day, let’s take the first steps to remove plastics from your daily life.

Say no to plastic bottles

International Plastic Bag Free Day: Reuse Plastic bottles

It may be an easier option to just buy a bottle of mineral when you’re outdoors, but you will be making a huge difference if you just decide to carry a reusable bottle instead. A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. Don’t contribute to this number. Instead, remember to carry your own water bottle around. Not only is this good for the environment, but it will also remind you to keep hydrated.

Carry your own shopping bag

International Plastic Bag Free Day: No plastic bagThe next time you step out to go to a convenience store to pick up groceries remember to carry your own bag instead of buying a plastic one. Buy a trendy cotton or jute bag and use it every time you have shopping on your mind.

Ditch the straws

International Plastic Bag Free Day: No Plastic Straw

That coconut water is wonderful for a parched throat, but the straw you use for drinking not so much. Plastic straws not just clog our land and oceans, they’re a huge danger to marine life too. While many restaurants have switched to paper or steel straws, it’s a good idea to carry your own reusable straws while travelling.

Apart from banning plastic completely from your daily routine, you can take recycling a step further by making these additional changes.

Segregate waste

International Plastic Bag Free Day: Segregate Waste

When it comes to your household waste, it’s best to divide and conquer. By segregating waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable or wet and dry, you can minimise the waste that goes into landfills. Segregation makes recycling and composting easy. Get two dustbins at home, one each for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste – it’s as simple as that! And if you decide to line your dustbins with garbage bags, make sure they’re biodegradable.

Swap wardrobes

“I have nothing to wear!” Sounds familiar? A lot of us are guilty of buying a lot more clothes than we actually need. As trends change, we update our wardrobes with new styles. Sadly, fast fashion is becoming an environmental concern since many clothes contain synthetic fabrics like polyesters and nylon that are made up of plastic fibres. To practice environmentally-friendly fashion, why not swap clothes with your siblings and friends? Not only do you break the monotony of your wardrobe, but you also follow sustainable fashion habits.

One of the most significant ways you can fight plastic pollution is by spreading awareness. Make your family and friends aware of the ill-effects of plastics. Involve children in activities like segregating waste or using old clothes in their crafts projects. Instill in them the habit of reusing and recycling – for instance, leftover pages from notebooks can be turned into a new notebook.

International Plastic Bag Free Day: QNET campaign

Our planet needs each one of us to become a warrior, for the sake of generations to come. At QNET, we have stopped the use of all single-use plastic items in all our offices worldwide since January 2019. As members of the QNET family, we must do our best to make the world a greener place.

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