Everyday household plastic products their impact on environment

Published: July 10, 2020 5:01 PM

In fact, in menstrual hygiene products plastic is often used as a raw material as well as packaging since it offers the use and throw advantage.

Being non biodegradable, such plastics continue to pollute our environment for decades or even centuries after the usage.Being non biodegradable, such plastics continue to pollute our environment for decades or even centuries after the usage. (Representative image)

By Vikas Bagaria

Plastic products are one of the biggest pollutants today and from our cities to faraway Arctic or Antarctic seas, they are harming the environment. One of the most damaging types of plastic is the single use one used in packaging of products ranging from potato chips to sanitary pads. In fact, in menstrual hygiene products plastic is often used as a raw material as well as packaging since it offers the use and throw advantage. Being non biodegradable, such plastics continue to pollute our environment for decades or even centuries after the usage. Let’s take a look at some of the common use items that cause major environmental damage:

Menstrual hygiene products

Periods are not always the most environmentally friendly times. This is more so if you are someone using disposable sanitary pads or products that have plastic packaging. Sanitary pads and other menstrual products are huge contributors to plastic waste generation and take at least 200 years or more to degrade. The need of the hour is to switch to sustainable alternatives like menstrual cups, tampons without plastic applicators, reusable or biodegradable sanitary pads, etc. which are not harsh on the environment.

Microbeads

For all those who use face washes, you may have noticed microbeads. They are the non-biodegradable, tiny, spherical pieces of plastic which are used in cleaning products. A single shower or face wash can lead to thousands of these microbeads being washed down the drain. They further go through the water filtration systems and end up in the ocean where they are ingested by animals. This cycle extends to humans when they consume sea food. While some countries have banned the use of microbeads, there is more to be done.

Single-use plastics

These are used everywhere, from grocery stores to our homes. Single-use plastic contributes to almost half of the world’s plastic waste and does not degrade in a matter of years. While India and other countries have pushed for banning single-use plastics, we still can see them on a daily basis. There is a need to raise awareness at a deeper level for consumers to adapt more sustainable options.

Wet wipes

Yes, they are convenient and come handy when you are battling particularly hot and humid weather. However, these wet wipes used so often to remove make up or even freshen up after a workout are not a healthy choice for the environment. Many people flush them down and wreak havoc on the sewer systems. They end up in oceans again and are ingested by marine life, staying in their stomach for years, making them die of starvation eventually. It is imperative to switch to more sustainable wipes that are available in the market today.

Time for sustainability

Plastic pollution has now become a global challenge. It is impacting all aspects of environment and causing soil, vegetation, marine and atmospheric pollution. Hence, there is a rise in concerted demand for sustainable products and alternatives for plastic. Many countries including India are taking steps to phase out the consumption of single-use plastics. One of the main reasons for the popularity of plastic has been its low cost of production and suitability as a light-weight packaging material. However, a growing number of businesses and consumers are now consciously choosing sustainability over convenience.

There is greater emphasis on using natural raw materials like bamboo and other plant based bio-degradable materials. The brands are aware of the changing trends and focusing on fulfilling their environmental commitment by adopting green packaging practices. The customers are also not averse to paying marginally extra for products that are eco-friendly and don’t use plastic in packaging.

With innovation and lowering the costs of eco-friendly raw materials, we are set to enter an age where sustainability will become pivotal to the manufacture of numerous personal hygiene and sanitation products!

(The author is Founder of Pee Safe. Views expressed are personal.)

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