The advent of plastic in our lives has definitely made it easier and more convenient. Plastic is now being used in various means. From food packaging to containers, plastic is the major packaging material used worldwide.
Comparing plastic PET bottle, cans and glass bottles
PET bottles are recycled worldwide. The integrity of the PET bottles gradually degrades on use. Bacteria develop faster on plastic bottles. Metal cans are also very harmful as they release Bisphenol A (BPA) that disrupt the sex hormonal functioning. Glass bottles, on the other hand, are better for reuse. Good quality glass does not leach harmful chemicals into potable water.
Plastic in oceans
Not every plastic bottle is recycled and converted into another bottle again. The majority of the plastic containers and packaging used ends up in the ocean. The pollution is stronger in the tourist destinations. A huge garbage patch floats in between Hawaii and California. It is also called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The plastic in the salty water and sunlight breaks down into small micro-pieces. These pieces are engulfed by the ocean fauna. In fact, the small micro-pieces also interrupt sunlight to enter the water thus cutting the main energy source for the planktons.
Due to the oceanic currents, the garbage patch ends up accumulated in this particular region. The calculation depicts that the size of the garbage patch is thrice the size of France. The circular ocean currents create gyres causing the plastic patch to form and remained trapped.
Plastic Age: The new era
Like that of the Iron and Bronze age, the anthropologists and archaeologists of the new age will define 20th century as the Plastic Age. The introduction of this material has literally revolutionized every aspect of our lives. Plastic has become an integral part of our life. This is the reason why discarded plastic is humongous in size. The disposable product ends up in the landfills and oceans. Once thrown away, the plastic remains for centuries in the ecological system. The micro-plastic in the marine ecosystem can end up in us also. The fish consuming these small plastic particles are consumed by us. On the other hand, many animals are dying in the ocean due to the consumption or entanglement of disposed plastic packages. The entrance of plastic in the food chain is very threatening to almost every species existing on earth.
Plastic is a non-biodegradable material. This is the reason why it ends up piling in the ocean and landfills. The best alternative to this manmade threat is bioplastic. This is the perfect alternative that can be used in place of plastic packages. It is made of corn starch and is 100% biodegradable. This is not a viable option for the entire world as food shortage is also a big reason. The other options that can replace plastic are tetra pack, glass, steel cans, aluminum cans, etc. The compulsory schemes need to be introduced in every country to control the use and production of plastic. The oil-based packaging material is not a feasible option anymore.