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Plastic Ban From 1 July: 14 Eco-Friendly Alternatives For Everyday Plastics

From 1 July 2022, India will ban the manufacture, import, storage, distribution, sale, and use of all single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, in every state.

In accordance with the call made by the Prime Minister of India to phase out single-use plastic items by 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has published the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, on 12 August 2021 [1][2].

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest issues our world faces today. Even though there is a greater global awareness of the importance of recycling and its practices, over 90 per cent of global plastic waste still ends up in landfills and pollutes our oceans with microplastics. Changing out your plastics in your everyday life does not have to be complicated, and it can contribute to reducing your carbon footprint [3].

It is time to abandon single-use plastics in favour of these eco-friendly alternatives. Following are fourteen eco-friendly alternatives to everyday plastics [4][5].

Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Everyday Plastics

1. Glass

Glass manufactured from recycled glass can reduce air pollution by 20 per cent and water pollution by 50 per cent compared with plastic bottles and containers. Switching to glass can have a significant impact on the environment. Unlike plastic containers, glass containers are safer to store and do not contain toxic chemicals that could contaminate your food.

2. Stainless steel

Over the past few years, stainless steel options for reusable food and beverage storage have multiplied. Replace single-use cups, kitchen storage, lunch boxes, and more with this durable metal.

3. Bamboo

There is a wide range of bamboo products, such as cutlery, tissue paper, stationery, serving trays, fitness towels, straws, planters, and so much more. In contrast to trees, bamboo forests can regenerate themselves in 3 to 5 years without pesticides. Bamboos are biodegradable, easy to grow, and long-lasting, making them an ideal choice for the environment and consumers.

4. Coconut

Compared to plastic, coconut can be recycled easily and is the most environmentally friendly substitute. Coconuts can be used almost completely, which means that very little waste is produced. It is used in producing combs, cutlery, candle shells, bowls, cups, and so on.

5. Jute

Jute is grown without using insecticides and pesticides, which prevents environmental damage. Jute is known for its tensile strength, durability, and affordability. Moreover, jute is fully biodegradable, recyclable, and sustainable. Jute products include sling bags, table runners, gift envelopes, pouches, notebooks, and more.

6. Cow dung

Cow manure is a rich source of minerals, particularly nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Due to its natural formation and decomposition, it is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. Several earthy and quaint products are made from cow dung, such as jewellery boxes, utility trays, carry bags, and gift boxes.

7. Tree-Free paper

In general, tree-free paper is made from agricultural waste such as lemongrass, sugarcane, cotton rag, etc. The advantage of using tree-free paper is that the plant resource grows rapidly and does not harm the natural ecosystem. Tree-free products include art books, greeting cards, gift bags, desk calendars, handmade papers, etc.

8. Cork

Cork is another biodegradable and recyclable material. As a result, cork products such as wallets, passport holders, yoga mats, and other items are available in the market. In addition, cork oak forests are among the most biodiverse environments on earth.

9. Wheat straw

In India, wheat is one of the most important crops. As a result, there is a considerable amount of waste generated. If you are unfamiliar with wheat straw, it is the stalk left over after wheat grains are harvested and is probably one of the most accessible alternatives to plastic.

10. Upcycled plastic

Of the 359 million tonnes of plastic produced in 2018, 119 million were single-use packaging plastics, and only 10 per cent of the total was recycled. To make matters worse for the environment, plastic demand increased by 3.5 per cent in 2019 [6]. Upcycling excess plastic is a great way to reduce plastic usage.

11. Recycled paper

One of the most effective methods for reducing the environmental impact of tree felling is to reuse post-consumer resources. The recycled paper is then used to create eco-friendly products such as new handmade papers, gift wrapping papers, and paper towel rolls. In addition, paper bags, packaging products, and new cardboard boxes are made from repurposed cardboard boxes.

12. Upcycled PET

PET is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic widely used in packaging, fabrics, films, and moulded parts for automobiles and electronics. 100 per cent recyclable, polyethene generates no carbon emissions. PET products are upcycled into everyday items such as coasters, tote bags, pouches, etc., after they are no longer useful.

13. Upcycled tyre

Used tires are upcycled into eco-friendly products instead of being discarded as waste. From recycled or upcycled tires, you can purchase wallets, rubber planters, laptop bags, handcrafted armchairs, etc.

14. Upcycled fabric

Upcycling involves reusing the same fabric to create something entirely new. For example, a lot of clothes are thrown away due to fast fashion. By upcycling fabrics, you can make items such as masks, cushion covers, aprons, fabric lanterns, bags, baskets, etc.

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