What will you do if you find that the road you are gonna drive will carry traffic? You will probably switch your path. What will you do if you find that the diet you are taking is enhancing your body fat? You will probably shift your diet.   

Similarly, what will you do if you find that the plastic you’re consuming is eventually harming you and your environment?

In today’s world whenever we face a problem we opt for a change we go for an alternative like in the coronavirus pandemic we opt for wearing the mask in public we go for social distancing.

Similarly to sustain our environment from the unnecessary waste we can opt for a change we can go for a zero-waste lifestyle alternative, we can learn how to live zero waste lifestyle to prevent our environment from waste.

What Is a Zero waste Lifestyle?

The meaning of zero waste lifestyle reflects in its two prefix words”zero waste” which means producing zero waste in the environment.

In other words, it’s a way of living life free of unnecessary non-biodegradable items like plastic items. Zero-waste lifestyle targets every waste that leads to landfills, its a movement for minimizing the tons of waste that we are unnecessarily producing.

Why We Should Live a Zero-waste Lifestyle?

In our childhood and even today whenever we see a plastic in the street we instantly picked it up and throw it in the dustbins thinking that throwing plastics in dustbins saves our environment but does this practice saves the environment or in contrast, does it create the problem?

Single-use plastic which is a major source of waste has become a part of our daily need and why not it’s light, cheap, and strong.

It’s everywhere because it’s super useful but have we ever went beyond the usefulness of plastic to the uselessness of plastic, have we ever estimated the sacrificing value of plastic that others are paying, have we ever wondered where do the tons of plastic disappear after being thrown in public dustbins and eventually whom it ends up affecting directly and indirectly.

To bridge the gap and understand the significance-depth from why to live zero waste lifestyle to how to live zero waste lifestyle we need to aggrandize and realize the direct and indirect impacts of plastic on our environment and us.

Where Does the Plastic Go and Whom Does It Affect?

global plastics production
Annual global polymer resin and fiber production (plastic production), measured in metric tonnes per year. Graph by ourworldindata.

Every plastic item whether it’s your plastic toothbrush, straw, toothpaste, or bag, etc everything stays plastic for years, it means neither its destroy nor its decompose in the environment which is a triggering fact because every year 300 million metric tons of plastic is produced waste.

Plastic was invented in 1907 since then billion tons of plastic have been produced, the fact to stress here is that a billion tones of plastic still exist in parts, Its present in the oceans directly affecting the marine life and indirectly us.

Marine Life

According to a report in National geography magazine “By 2050, there will be more plastic than the fishes in the oceans”

Every year 8 million metric tons of plastic enters in our oceans. This 8 million could be just a number if those tons of plastic never end up killing 100,000 marine mammals and affecting 266 aquatic species. 

The million tons of plastics in the oceans come from 80% landfills or trashed (landfills runoff, storms) and 20% from discard fishing gears and discard ship gears.

The plastics which enter in oceans are not the normal plastics but the intoxicated one. The plastics are intoxicated because the plastic act as sponge its absorb all the toxic chemicals from its surrounding before entering the ocean. When the plastic enters into the ocean, via UV rays and water waves the intoxicated plastics get fragmented into tiny pieces called microbeads, these microbeads through the food chain transferred to the bodies of other animals like first the water insects consumes microbeads than fishes consumes the water insects and then giant whales and sharks consume these fishes. Eventually, through the proper chain order, the intoxicated plastic reaches to the bodies of aquatic animals.

Often the aquatic animals die from plastic ingestion, starvation, drowning, and entanglement.

Some aquatic animals mistake plastic as their food, like turtles often consume plastic by considering it as a jellyfish, similarly, the sea birds search their bait by following the scent of DMS which eventually leads them to the “death trap” plastic. Since the body of aquatic animals is already engulfed with plastics hence they couldn’t able to eat nutrients food which leads to their death from starvation. On the other hand, some animals also die from being entangled in plastic equipment, straws, etc.

Human Health

There is an indirect connection between plastic and humans health. The single-use plastic which seems so useful in daily life eventually harms us via intoxicating these two sources food and Air.

Air

From being extracted to being destroyed plastic emits immense toxic substances in the environment.

If we talk about extraction than 90% of the plastic comes from fossil fuels. The extraction process of plastic from fossil fuels itself results in the major emissions of toxic chemicals such as carcinogenic in the environment. The toxic chemicals which inhale by the worker enhance their risk of further fatal diseases such as cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive, and development toxicity.

On other hand since 12% of plastic is burnt in an open area in the Incineration process hence toxic elements like Dioxins, Furans, Mercury, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls come into the contact of the atmosphere which further leads to the inclination of fatal diseases like cancer, neurological damage, disrupts reproductive thyroid and respiratory systems.

The landfills where tones of plastic are dumped and destroyed are also responsible for the emission of potent methane and carbon dioxide gases which also contributes to climate change.

Food

The intoxicated elements released by plastic enters through multiple food sources in our body.

The Dioxins which is emitted by the incineration process of plastic settles on the crops where they eventually enter into our food.

According to a study 114 seafood contains microbeads, out of which more than half ends up in our plate

which is a fact to worry cause the accumulation of tiny plastics could lead to endocrine disruption.

How to Live Zero-waste Lifestyle?

How to live a zero-waste lifestyle is not perpetual life to live, it doesn’t ask for many complex changes nor its difficult to adopt, if you look over the changes on the lives of the ones who are living zero waste lifestyle than actually, you will observe that the results are more fruitful in environmental terms as well as in monetary terms.

To know the concept of How to live zero waste lifestyle we have to understand and follow the 5R of daily life which is Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot.

Refuse:   Refuse the unnecessary

Reduce:  Reduce the necessary

Reuse:     Reuse whatever you consume.

Recycle: Recycle whatever you use

Rot:         Compost everything

Based on this 5R here are

Simple 10 Ways for Beginners to Living a Zero-waste Lifestyle

1) Always carry cloth bags whenever you go for groceries shopping and carry your own jar for containing and storing any food or liquid item like pulses, sugar, smoothies, etc.

2) Avoid using plastic bottles instead of it, you either plastic bottles and reuse them or purchase metal and glass bottles.

3) Always carry your lunch accompanied by your own cutlery, If you enjoy beverages with a straw than use recycle or bamboo straws.

4) Avoid the purchasing of an item in small quantities instead of it always buy in bulk to avoid the owning of more plastic.

5) Try to cut your consumption of unnecessary plastic products by limiting the use of plastic bags for groceries, toothpaste for brushing your teeth, using a dishwasher, etc

6) To avoid the use of the plastic item you can create a non-plastic one such as plastic-free toothpaste, deodorant, or lip balm if you find difficulty in creating your own non-plastic items than you can also either purchase them at low cost or learn how to make them from any online sources

like Pinterest, blogs.

7) Replace the use of tissue and napkins by small handkerchiefs.

8) Compost your waste at home.

9) Either use your smartphone for noting any groceries list, medication, or use the mails in your mailbox as for note-making.

10) Since many of our clothes contains a plastic-like polymer, nylon, acrylic hence instead of throwing your clothes away charity your clothes by donating them in thrift stores.

Conclusion

This is 21 century and we have reached every prosperous field for our civilization but apart from being civilized we never care about the sacrifices that we are making recklessly nature is making recklessly.

In the current scenario, we are already in the red zone, the impacts of climate change becoming more apocalyptic above on it we are producing billion tons of waste which are actually gearing up the impacts of climate change more severe. 

We need to realize that if we don’t stop now than problems are gonna be way bigger and way stronger. 

We can’t get back to the time and correct everything but we do have present we do have changes, changes for good, change for changing our way of living, learning how to live zero waste lifestyle.

Many people have started this initiation they are becoming aware, they are valuing their environment, they learn how to live zero waste lifestyle to prevent there environment 

But this will not come into effect unless we don’t fight unanimously.

Think about the planet Think about plastic

Writing and travelling are always my therapy. Currently pursuing Bachelor in Arts from Delhi University. Do send me a feedback to improve my content

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