Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi Palanisamy passed a plastic ban in the state which has recently come into effect. In a bid to save the environment from the abuse of plastic and make way for a plastic-free future, the scheme has banned the manufacture, storage, sale and use of about 14 items made of plastic.
Here is a list of some of the household items and items in daily use that you might be seeking replacements/ alternatives for.
- Disposable thermocol plates used for serving food and plastic coated paper plates.
Problem: Thermocol comprises of a thermoplastic compound called polystyrene. It doesn’t easily decompose in the soil making the soil infertile and when burnt, it releases harmful chemicals in the air that can lead to respiratory problems. Plastic coated paper plates leave behind plastic microparticles after the paper decomposes.
Solution: Use plates and tableware made of biodegradable and eco-friendly components like planet fibres. Visfortec is one such organisation that sells biodegradable tableware made of bagasse (the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane). All their products are compostable and biodegradable and do not harm the environment. Do check out ecoware as well if you are looking out for more options.
- Plastic straws.
Problem: Plastic straws make up about 4 percent of plastic trash in our landfills, oceans and beaches.
Solution: Although straws are something we can easily do without., there are not one but many alternatives available. Straws made of bamboo, glass and paper have created quite a stir in recent times. Bali-boo has an amazing collection of Bamboo straws that are 100% natural and organic and easy to clean making it reusable. You might want to check out Strawesome if you prefer glass straws or pappco greenware for paper straws if you are too clumsy with glassware.
- Disposable plastic tea and coffee cups
Problem: Disposable plastic cups fall in the big four most used plastic items. Half a trillion disposable cups are manufactured annually around the world; that’s over 70 disposable cups for every person on the planet. Only 1 in 400 cups gets recycled and the rest others end up on our beaches, in oceans and landfills.
- Single-use plastic carry bags used every day by people and vendors
Problem: Plastic bags are one of the biggest culprits of the plastic problem that our planet is facing. Marine species like sea turtles and birds like albatross mistake these for food and choke to death. It is indeed, a very huge problem both for our landfills and water bodies.
Solution: Replace plastic bags with reusable bags made of natural and biodegradable materials like cotton, jute, or plant fibres. These are washable and can be used a number of times, unlike single-use plastic bags that are used and thrown. EcoRight has a nice collection of totes and other utility bags made of natural fabrics like cotton, recycled cotton and jute. You might want to check them out. These are fun, quirky and kind to the environment.
- Water packets sold by small vendors.
Problem: Just like any other packaged water, water packets too end up in the landfill and water bodies and cause problems.
Solutions: The solution is simple. Avoid buying water sold in packets. Carry your own reusable water bottles made of steel, wherever you go.
- Plastic bags used for gifting during special occasions.
Problem: Gifting bags account for 0.0025% of the total plastic waste the world produces every year. This percentage looks so infinitesimal but not when it is in regard to about 2 trillion plastic waste produced.
Solution: Switch to gifting bags made of natural fabrics or plant-derived fibres like cotton, jute, juton, hemp etc. My personal favourites are jewellery pouches and quirky totes made of biodegradable materials. Get your hands on some from EcoRight. You can even try the paper bag gallery if you are looking for custom gifting bags made of paper.
I have tried to cover almost everything from the list of banned items. Think I am missing out on something? Write to me at [email protected].