Continuing from my previous post on sustainable living, I thought that maybe I would put up more posts about environmental issues and how we as the main users of this planet can work together to sustain it for our future kids ! This time round, I’ll talk about plastics. When the word plastic pops in my mind, a few words came up as there are lots and lots of different kinds of plastics and they are all combinations of different components. It’s also not rocket science as most of us know that plastic is one of the largest contributory factor to the pollution sector. While this is a fact known by millions of people, many are still producing their goods with the use of plastic because it’s affordable and convenient.
Now, let’s narrow down to one type of plastic; water bottles. Water bottles use billions of plastic annually to store mineral water, sweet drinks, carbonated drinks etc etc and the amount of plastic bottles we consumed daily is probably a significant number which leads us to having to recycle as many bottles as we can so that we won’t add up to the pile in the land waste. More and more countries are slowly providing recycling bins and making it easily accessible and available so people can opt to put it in the recycling bin rather than normal waste bin. But we are still facing problems where the number of people recycling water bottles is not enough as compared to the number of water bottles consumed. People know the potential issue a plastic bottle brings if not properly recycled but sometimes they decide to just throw it away in a waste bin because it makes life easier, more convenient and less hassle. This is also probably because we don’t see firsthand the problems caused by plastics on a large scale of consumption.
To tackle this problem, there’s only one solution to it – awareness. We must educate ourselves, the people around us and the society of the potential damage plastic can bring to our planet. It’s one thing to implement regulations, tell people to recycle, provide recycling bins but it is another thing to educate the society, to provide understanding and necessary knowledge so people realize the importance of a simple act. Young children should be taught about preserving the environment in school so that they could be innovative and tackle the environmental issues with creative solutions when they grow older. When we do something that we are obligated to do, it is always easier to do it if we know the reason behind it and for this particular matter, it’s good to understand fully the effect of plastic consumption. I came across a video produced by Ted Ed on plastic bottles which is fairly easy to understand and it is animated too, so that’s a huge plus point there. Take a look at it with your family and friends, it could be during weekend time with your kids, taking a break from studies or in between work. The video is only about 4 minutes which is not long. I think I shower even longer than that so there’s not really an excuse to not watch it.
Now that you’ve watched it , please please at least be more curious about it and take recycling of plastic seriously (as serious as revising for exams !). There’s a catch when iy comes to recycling plastics. Not all plastics are being recycled. Yes, I said it right, it wasn’t a typo. Read it again. The recycle symbol on the container is called resin code which is used to separate the type those plastics are made of. So, even when you recycle there is another hurdle we have to fix – providing market to recycle those plastics. Often, not all plastic categories are taken in for recycling because of the lack in demand and market for it. The products will be separated according to the plastic categories and then what can be recycled is taken away for recycling process. What happens to the leftovers then? They get delivered to the land waste and the cycle of pollution starts again from there. Therefore, apart from recycling plastic, there is another principle that you have to live by when it comes to protecting the environment which is reduce the consumption. That way, the amount of plastic produced from that category will reduce too! But, well if it’s essential and you need it maybe you can take a different approach like writing a letter to the company and provide feedback/suggestions about their production.
The plastic recycle chart that is used globally for further understanding.
The keyword to this issue is to recycle as much as you can and to reduce the usage of plastic in your daily lives. Here are 3 easy steps you can follow for your day to day lifestyle:
- Going out? Bring a water bottle with you. It’s better if you can purchase a bottle container and refill it whenever you’re going out.
- Recycle the water bottles once you’ve used it. Prepare a separate bin for plastic bottles so it’s easier for you to collect them together for recycling.
- DIY ! Recreate and redecorate your house with plastic bottles. There are lots of creative ideas on Pinterest, interesting enough to make it as a weekend project with family.
I personally love number 3 as plastic bottles can be used for many creative projects! I hope that you will all do your part and recycle as much as you can, spread the awareness to the people around you and be more attentive in protecting the environment. We may not be able to eliminate the problem just yet, but together we can reduce and contain the issue from further damage.
Have a nice weekend and hope your weekend is as sunny as mine (although I’m practically drowned with books to read)!