Plastic Alternatives: An Insistence for a Plastic-Free Life
Published on February 14th 2017 by Madhumita Talukder under Green Living Ideas
All of us are familiar with this ingrained habit of ours – hurriedly swallowing water from a plastic water bottle, taking a bite from a sandwich kept on a plastic plate, and thrusting a plastic lunch box into a flashy plastic bag while heading out for work.
Plastic and its Harmful Effects
Now, the number of times the word “plastic” has been used in the above passage is far less than the number of ways people worldwide actually employ this universally prevalent material. And alarmingly, far perilous are its effects.
The non‑biodegradable entity, on breaking down, releases deadly toxins into the air, water, and soil, thereby contaminating the environment. Storing food items in plastic bottles, and using plastic wraps in the microwave passes poisonous chemicals into the foods, increasing the risk of cancer.
Ideas for a Life Without Plastic
Reusable Tote Bags to Replace Plastic Bags
Utilize materials like canvas, jute, denim and wool for stylish personalized bags. Have specific bags assigned for different purposes like carrying groceries, fruits, and veggies. Paper bags, easily storable and unhesitatingly safe for children, may also come in handy.
For an eco-friendly, as well as budget-friendly option, go for DIY grocery bags if you have a little free time.
Alternatives to Plastic Containers and Wraps in Microwave
Switch over to silicon steamers that neither react with food or beverages nor emit toxic fumes. Their nonstick property also renders them an easy handling. Wax papers, tin foils, fabric bowl covers or homemade wraps like oil cloths can also serve as a substitute.
You may even try making your own wax paper at home; it’s easier than it looks.
Non-Plastic Stationery Items
Encourage your children in eliminating plastic as well, starting with basic items, like wooden toothbrushes, natural toys made from wood, cotton, porcelain or metal, and craft materials like pencils and crayons that come exclusively in cardboard boxes. Wood or stainless steel is a good replacement for things like pen stands and mobile covers.
Plastic-Free Kitchen Tools and Storage Containers
Make a conscious habit of keeping food in glass or stainless steel utensils. You may also opt for wooden spatulas, spoons, trays and sippy cups. Stainless steel is a good substitute for plastic lunch boxes, serving bowls, ice trays etc. Mason jars can be the answer for your storage needs as they come in all shapes and sizes.
Plastic Bottle Alternatives
Vacuum sealed insulated flasks are a good option, and they can keep your water hot or chilled for up to 24 hours. Great as baby bottles too, only ensure that the nipples are made of silicon. Glass bottles are another natural choice as it lasts longer, with the unbreakable variety being a safe alternative for kids as well.
Other Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Items to Use Instead of Plastic
- Bamboo, cloth or hemp for yoga mats, shower curtains, and doormats
- Paper bags or compostable trash bags and stainless steel dustpans
- Vinyl or silicon bottle caps
- Bamboo calculators and keyboards
- Vinyl or cloth tablecloths
- Stainless steel or lightweight aluminum pipes
- Disposable plates and cups made from bagasse, a biodegradable and waterproof by-product of sugarcane
- Wooden furniture and flooring bearing the label of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), certifying that the products come from well managed and harvested forests
- Golf tees, and hi-fi speaker boxes made from organic bio-plastic substances like liquid wood
Plastic materials once manufactured do not quickly disappear. They may calmly dwell in the depths of an ocean or occupy a large portion of landfills for hundreds of years. Though recycling of plastic is a viable option, a whole lot of valuable energy is wasted in the process. So, keeping the above options in mind may be a material step towards a better tomorrow.
There are a lot of great ideas here, but isn’t vinyl plastic also?