Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a deadline to do away with single use plastic because of which many E-commerce and delivery companies in India have to use only recyclable plastic for packaging.
Plastics are product of human ingenuity and innovation, one of the civilization’s greatest solutions as it lasts long and resist decay but for same reasons plastic is a big problem.
Around the world approximately 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced per year and if you do the math it is more than a billion kilograms per day and the worst part is only 18% of the plastic is recycled.
So where all of this plastic go once used. It is either recycled (only 18%) or burned or dumped into oceans. When plastic is burned it release toxic gases as it contain additives (stabilizers, antibiotics, plasticizers, etc) that can harm humans and other species and if we talk about oceans, at least 8 billion kilograms of plastic is dumped into oceans annually. With this rate mass of the plastic in oceans will exceed the mass of the fishes by the year 2050.
India is the 15th biggest plastic polluter globally. Nearly 26000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day in India.
According to a study by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, most of the plastic produced is used by the packaging industry. It is estimated that by the year 2020 plastic packaging industry is to grow to 22 million tonnes a year, which in year 2015 was 13.4 million tonnes, growth here is exponential.
Now the question arises, do we have any solution for this problem, well we do have a solution. Just say no to the plastic but there is a problem with this solution there are lot of things that need plastic containers only (mostly for the liquid products) or instead you can use cans (made up of aluminium) but it’s production cost is high and we don’t like to pay extra money, ultimately we are forced to use plastic containers.
Unless we don’t come up with a legit solution like a product which works as a plastic but is eco-friendly, until then we cant completely say no to the plastic. So what we do now?
As plastic can be recycled 7-9 times before it is no longer recyclable, we can incentivize people to do so. Many big companies are working on this issue. Walmart’s Flipkart has set a target of using only recycled plastic by 2021.
Incentive like returning plastic packaging to e-commerce companies for small cashback can have a huge impact on reducing plastic consumption.
According to a survey 90% of Indians who shop online are willing to return the plastic packaging materials for recycling expecting up to Rs 50 in cash for returning such materials. If this thing becomes reality all over the globe which it should be, then we can see a huge decrease in the plastic production.
This may not solve our plastic problems completely but this could at least help us to improve our current conditions about the plastic waste crisis. Every individual should participate in this incentive, if not for money than for the sake of environment which is getting worse day by day.
It’s important to think about plastics, not just because doing so shows us that we’re doing something wrong, but because if we don’t do something right now then who knows in the future, it might be too late to do anything. So why wait, better start now.