Disadvantages Of Plastic: Every Way In Which Plastic Impacts Us

Disadvantages Of Plastic: Every Way In Which Plastic Impacts Us

Plastic has taken over the world. Everything around us comes from plastic, directly or indirectly. What's worse is that it has also started invading our bodies. Microplastics have made their way into our food, our air, our water- & even our bloodstreams. 

So it is evident that there are many disadvantages of plastics. This article will take a deeper look into these advantages and suggest solutions to combat the impacts.

What are the major Disadvantages Of Plastic?

Most of the disadvantages of plastics are commonly known. We know that they pollute our environment and cause multiple health hazards. Let’s shed more light on why such consequences arise from the use of plastic:

  • Pollution: Plastic pollution is choking our planet. Plastic waste is accumulating at an alarming rate, whether you study the plains or the mountains. Animals mistake plastic for food. 
  • Health Hazards: Beyond environmental damage, plastic poses health risks as well. This is because it contains chemicals like BPA and phthalates. 
  • Lack of degradation: Unlike banana peels or apple cores, plastic doesn't disappear. Plastic takes forever to break down. Result? Wasted plastic has started clogging landfills and littering our landscapes. 
  • Resource depletion: The production of plastic guzzles precious fossil fuels. The process of production does not just deplete the finite resources. 

The long-term impacts of using plastic

We just learnt about some of the short-sighted impacts of the use of plastics. Now let’s take a look at some of the long-term disadvantages of using plastics:

  • Ecosystem destruction: Plastic pollution disrupts delicate ecosystems. Animals get tangled in plastic debris. 
  • Chemicals: As plastic breaks down, it releases harmful chemicals into the environment. These harsh chemicals contaminate soil and water. 
  • Microplastic: Microplastics, those tiny plastic bits mentioned earlier, are a growing concern.  

Disadvantages Of Plastic as a food-storage material

Certain negative aspects of the use of plastics for food storage just can’t be ignored. Storing food in plastics may be more harmful than it’s beneficial, for the following reasons:

  • Chemicals: Storing food and beverages in plastic can be risky. This is especially true when the containers are heated or used for storing acidic foods. 
  • Microbial buildup: Plastic containers can harbour bacteria and fungi. This is especially true for those with scratches or wear. Such a build-up increases the risk of foodborne illness.  This absorption can lead to unpleasant surprises in your lunchbox.

3 Reliable Replacements for Plastic

The good news is- we aren’t stuck with plastics. There are some fantastic replacements and alternatives for plastics. Some of the great ones include:

  • Glass can be a great alternative: Glass containers are a safe and sustainable alternative for food and beverage storage.  
  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel containers are perfect for on-the-go lifestyles.  
  • Biodegradable materials: The world of sustainable alternatives is booming. Biodegradable options are emerging as strong contenders. These alternatives are made from renewable resources and break down naturally. 

Using Plastic Safely (When Necessary)

We may make our best efforts to stay away from plastics. But, there can always be scenarios where we don’t have the right or equally effective alternatives. In some other cases, the alternatives may not be accessible to us. In such cases, we can take the following measures to use plastic safely:

  • Choose Wisely: If you must use plastic, opt for BPA-free and phthalate-free options to minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals. Look for recycling codes #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) as these are generally considered safer for food and beverage storage.
  • Ditch the Heat: Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers or using plastic wrap in the microwave. Instead, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers for safe heating.
  • Say No to Single-Use: Whenever possible, ditch single-use plastic products. Invest in a reusable water bottle, cloth grocery bags, and glass food containers. 
  • Refills: Many household products, from laundry detergent to cleaning solutions, are available in refillable containers. By choosing these options, you can significantly reduce plastic waste and potentially save money in the long run.
  • BYOB (Bring Your Bag): Say goodbye to plastic grocery bags! Invest in reusable cloth bags or opt for sturdy cardboard boxes. This simple switch can drastically reduce the amount of plastic you use daily.
  • The Power of Produce Bags: Those flimsy plastic produce bags might seem convenient, but they add up quickly. Consider bringing your reusable mesh bags for fruits and vegetables, or simply skip the bag altogether for items with a natural rind, like bananas or oranges.

The disadvantages of plastic use are so many, that they are almost uncountable. The scale at which the use of plastics is popular in our surroundings, we may not be able to cope with this frequency sooner any quicker than we are coping right now. So, if you want to minimise the impacts of plastics in your life, it is best to use them more safely. This article has mentioned several tips to navigate the disadvantages of plastics. There can be many more such ways which may be more specific to your scenario. It is important to be on the lookout for alternatives, & use plastics in a safer way to avoid long-lasting impacts. 

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