The last couple of decades have seen a lot of talk about the detrimental effects of plastic usage. Ironically, during the same time, plastics have permeated all aspects of our daily life. Their properties of durability, resistance to fire, chemicals, moisture and weather, dimensional stability etc. have contributed to them being used for a plethora of applications. Such is their impact that there never is an instance where we don’t come in contact – directly or indirectly – with plastics. Today, it has become a material that cannot be overlooked for any application and is contributing to our ecosystem in various ways.
Plastics play an important role in the Indian economy. Hardware, construction industries, etc. are heavily dependent on plastics. Plastics also contribute to the exports of our country. However, it’s the packaging industry where plastics enjoy an enviable position. Today, the industry is estimated to be worth $24.6 billion and is growing at the rate of 15 % per annum. By 2025, it is expected to reach $32 billion. Rigid plastics account for 26% of this growing market, where 80% is from the beverages and non-food products.
In addition to aiding easy usage, plastics also contribute immensely to our environment through their energy saving potential and recyclability. Only 4% of the world’s oil production is used for plastics and much less energy is used to produce it compared to other materials. Also, being durable and light-weight, they help save fuel during transportation.
Socially, the plastics industry is a major employer, directly as well as indirectly. Plastics are also essential in modern day healthcare in the form of blood bags, fluid bags, blood vessels in artificial kidneys, surgical gloves etc.
It is this positive impact of plastics on our economy, environment and society that has made it one of the most sustainable products on the planet. Plastics, contrary to popular belief, can be remanufactured as the same product or different products such as fibres for textiles, concrete for construction, etc. When disposed properly, plastics can be put to great use time and again. And that’s where you come in.
Even before you finally dispose that old plastic jar or bottle, think of creative ways of reusing it. For example, old plastic bottles can be used as water sprinklers, pots, magazine holders, etc. If we can’t reuse them, we must dispose them by treating them as dry waste, in order to help the collectors give them away to recycling units.
A little effort on our part can go a long way in not only helping save the environment, but also in ensuring that we continue to lead our lives in comfort. This website is a repository of the various ways in which you can reuse and recycle plastics. We encourage you to follow the practices given herein and also to share the same with your family and friends.
We live in a world where we can’t imagine living through a single day without plastics. But how many of us actually understand how plastics impact our environment? We frequently hear about the many reasons why one should reduce the use of plastics, but only a few among us know why. This article intends to explain how plastic consumption affects the carbon footprint and break the myths surrounding the role of plastics in the same.
Expressed in tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the higher the carbon footprint, the warmer the temperature of the earth is. This scenario, known as global warming, can cause catastrophic weather events, flooding, water shortages and disturbed ecosystems. So how do plastics affect the same? Here’s how…
Plastics are made from petroleum and natural gas. The hydrocarbon starting points are refined into ethane and propane. Both of these gases are ‘steam cracked’ into ethylene and propylene. Post additional processing, a polymer is born, ready for melting, processing and shipment as basic plastic pellets. Following this, the plastic manufacturers – based on their need – turn these pellets into plastics bottles, boxes, pipes, etc. It is the conversion of raw materials to plastic pellets that results in large emissions of carbon dioxide. However, years of research and advancement in production technology have helped reduce these emissions significantly. Also, the evolution of plastics into a sustainable material has ensured that the environmental impact of plastic production is significantly lesser than ever before. In addition, the fact that plastics can be heated and reformed into other products shows that there is immense scope for further reduction in emissions caused by plastics.
A number of studies reveal that recycling wins over virgin plastic production when it comes to carbon emissions. Though the estimates vary with the type of recycling process used, researchers unanimously agree that recycling plastics saves at least 30% of the carbon emissions that original processing and manufacturing produces. That could mean an annual reduction of millions of tons of carbon dioxide.