Can you imagine a day without plastic in your life? Not possible right? Starting from your toothbrushes to loofahs to pens, everything is made of plastic. Plastic is so imbued in our daily routine that it is hard for us to imagine a life without it. This is harshly true, despite the fact that using plastic is hazardous for our health and the environment.
Can we stop using plastic in our routine lives?
‘Imagination is the first step of innovation.’ If we have thought about it, we can surely accomplish it. Let us explore what are the possible alternatives of plastic and how would a plastic-free future be?
How can we break the plastic habit?
There are many ways through which we can curb the use of plastics in our lives.
The more we demand non-plastic products, the more we reduce the mindlessly produced plastic items in the market. Some manageable first steps can begin from home.
Use of plastic-free containers
You can use traditional steel or metal containers to store food in our homes rather than plastic boxes. Carrying your glass or metal water bottles can stop the reusable plastic water bottles that are easy to use and throw during a trip. You can refill them from time to time and thus avoid buying bottled drinking water/beverages.
Stop using plastic bags
More than a trillion plastic bags are used every year, which is a scary amount. Though they are very convenient, they are equally harmful. Carrying your cloth bags for shopping, you can reduce the use of plastic bags. Also, the use of bags can be a good alternative for plastic bags. Apart from reducing plastic usage, composting can be a beneficial tool in reducing the amount of plastic waste generated by individuals and households. You can even compost bread to reduce the amount of organic waste.
Liquid soaps, shampoos, detergents, and lots of cosmetics have added to the use of bottles in our daily routines. Shifting from liquid soaps to bar soaps, shampoo bars, and opting for cosmetics sold in eco-friendly containers are some ways to start going plastic-free.
Now, after we have broken the plastic habit, we can now look for alternatives that can replace plastic items in our daily lives.
Alternatives to Plastic
If we look back to the origin of humankind, nature has been man's best friend providing man with all the necessary means of livelihood. The alternative to plastic lies in nature itself. However, not all alternatives to plastic are natural; some are man-made too. Let us guide you through the alternatives to plastic.
Stainless Steel is made of iron and carbon. This is the best alternative to plastic as it is very durable. Vessels and containers made of stainless steel last long and are easy to carry. They are also heat resistant, recyclable, reusable, and food safe. They can also be washed in dishwashers, which will save you time.
This is a completely natural alternative to plastic. Bamboo is a plant material that is a gift of nature. They are basically long, strong grasses found in tropical and subtropical weather zones. You can use them in making straws, fabrics, house decors, furniture, and even construction. Even fabrics and beddings are made of bamboo. The biggest advantage of using them is that they are lightweight, durable, completely natural, compostable, and recycled. Since bamboo plants are easily available, they are cheaper raw materials to manufacture products and are food safe.
Though this is a form of compostable plastic, this has plant-based biopolymers and can be recycled. This makes them eligible to be put in your home compost. The compostable material in them will break in 6 months to 2 years. Flaxstic material is a non-toxic material and safe to use. This can be mainly used to produce electronic items and accessories, mainly because they are shock absorbent.
Glass has been an alternative for plastic for ages. Glass is made up of heating up sand and thus is endlessly recyclable. Glass can be used in making home decors, cutlery, appliances, electronics, automotive parts, water bottles, etc. Items made of glass need to be handled with care, they are recyclable, reusable, heat resistant, and food safe.
Another eco-friendly alternative to plastic is platinum silicone which is also made of sand. This does not need any plasticizers to stabilize it and hence is completely natural. However, you need to make sure that there are no added colors or chemicals in your platinum silicone product. They too are biodegradable and recyclable. Also, they can be downcycled into machine lubricant oil or playground mulch.
Platinum Silicone can be used to make kitchen storage containers, medical supplies, clothing, and footwear. This is moldable and flexible, heat resistant, and non-toxic.
Did you ever think that fungi can be used as an alternative to plastic? Well, yes, you can grow mycelium (a vegetative part of the fungus) and then mold it into any shape you want. This is mainly used for packaging purposes. You can use it for food packaging, clothing, footwear, and product packaging. This is compostable, non-toxic, compostable, shock-resistant, and durable. Since this is shock-resistant, this can be used for traveling and transporting delicate objects.
Other natural materials
Other materials like wood, paper, fibers, and cardboard are some of the easily available alternatives to plastic. They can be used for kitchen storage and packaging, clothing and footwear, home decors, and furniture.
All these materials mentioned are easily available and can be used instead of plastic. The plastic-free future starts now.
Yes, plastic is everywhere. It is now evident that plastic that we use in our daily lives can be replaced by more eco-friendly alternatives that are harmless to our best friend - Nature. One small move can make a big change. To have a plastic-free future, it is high time for you to start taking small steps so that our generations to come can have a better, healthy, and plastic-free life.
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