Plastic waste and garbage in general is a serious problem in modern society. Every day mankind creates thousands of tons of waste, which need to be recycled and reused, so that our planet does not turn into one big dump in 50 years. Of all the types of household waste plastic is the biggest threat.
Features of Plastic Waste
All natural materials eventually decompose and return to the natural cycle of substances. Human society has always lived by the same principle, we use goods and products, and after we send the remaining waste to the landfill, where it decomposes. Recently, waste no longer decomposes by itself, the reason for this is the innovative plastic packaging, which keeps food fit for use for a long time.
The high performance of plastics has been appreciated by consumers, which is why plastic waste has become a serious problem today. Each person throws about 88 kilograms of plastic products into landfills each year: dishes, plastic bottles and other containers. Multiplying the amount of waste from one person by the total population of the planet, it becomes clear why polymers are so dangerous to life on Earth as a whole.
In addition to the positive characteristics, polymer waste also has a number of serious drawbacks, the main of which is durability and resistance to environmental conditions. Everyone should know that different types of waste are characterized by different decomposition times in nature and in landfills:
- paper decomposes the fastest: 2-5 months;
- Cigarette butts can remain in the trash for up to 12 years;
- plastic bags last up to 20 years;
- plastic products can last for centuries.
In addition to not decomposing, plastic poses a serious danger to the environment. Anyone can see pictures on the Internet of thousands of plastic bottles in bodies of water of all sizes, and hundreds of marine animals are dying because of the waste. Polymers end up in the stomachs of birds all over the world and often kill the birds. Recent UN data reports that plastic kills over a million seabirds worldwide each year, and fish and mammals continuously ingest the waste, which is highly detrimental to animal health, harms offspring and can lead to the death of entire species in the future.
The sea is clogged with plastic waste, the last cleanup conducted by volunteers a few years ago showed that about 80% of all trash removed went into the ocean from land, not from marine vessels, as was commonly believed. Thus, it is vital to engage in recycling plastic waste without waiting for a real environmental disaster, the likelihood of which only increases every year.
How to save the environment
Today is the right time to address the issue of recycling plastics, because recent studies show that if the level of waste in the future is maintained or even increased, in 10-15 years the area of trash “islands” on the planet will increase twofold! Under such conditions it will be much more difficult to control waste and clean up the seas and oceans.
Simply burning plastics is not the best solution, even a child should know that polymer combustion releases hazardous toxic fumes that can cause serious harm to the environment and humans.
The only sensible way to solve the problems associated with plastic waste – recycling and the use of recycled material. Modern technologies allow high-quality recycling of plastic waste, make materials from them used in the manufacture of a variety of products, from clothing to machinery and automobile parts.
To optimize the recycling of plastics, you need to ensure proper segregation and sorting of waste, install separate trash cans for waste paper, glass and plastic, to ensure that the people of the world are aware of the dangers of waste and strive to be clean.
But even these steps will not save the planet from its waste problems. In the future we will have to stop using plastic as a packaging material and produce materials that decompose rapidly and easily in nature. Many experts believe that in the future mankind should expect new taxes on the use of plastic packaging, which will lead to a serious increase in the price of goods in plastic containers. Not only the producers but also the consumers will be hurt, but these measures are necessary if we want our children and grandchildren to have a chance for a cleaner, safer planet.
Each of us must do what we can today to reduce harmful waste. First, waste, especially plastic, should never be left in nature and recreation areas. Secondly, you should separate the garbage you produce. Third, try to buy goods in natural packaging.