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Ministry Proposes Three-Stage Plan to Ban Use of Single-Use Plastics by 2022

India is working on a national policy which aims to completely phase out single-use plastics by the second half of 2022, keeping in consideration the varied paces of compliance across states over the past five years. In a draft notification issued on 13th March 2021, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change has proposed a three-phased ban on the manufacture, use, sale, import, and handling of single-use plastic items.

The first set of rules for plastic bags has been proposed to come into force from 30th September onwards. The draft rules propose that each sheet of non-woven plastic carry bag shall not be less than 60 (GSM per square metre) or 240 microns in thickness, and that a carry bag made of virgin or recycled plastic shall not be less than 120 microns in thickness.

The second set of the proposed rules is expected to come into force on 1 January 2022, banning the sale, use, manufacturing, stocking, import, and distribution of six categories of items which use single-use plastic. These include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, and polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration.

Thereafter, the third and final stage would be initiated on 1 July 2022, banning single-use plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery including forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays; wrapping films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, and plastic/PVC banners less than 100 micron and stirrers, etc.

“We have proposed a ban on quite a few single-use plastic items in the draft with different time frames for each. We are inviting suggestions and after 60 days, as per the norm, we will assess the feedback and notify the final rules accordingly”, said RP Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change.

Considering the ‘high environmental costs’ associated with management of single-use plastics and the adverse effects on the marine environment in particular, the ministry has proposed to implement the ban on the above-mentioned single-use plastic items on a pan-India basis. However, these provisions will not apply to commodities made out of compostable plastic materials, according to the rules.

Previous attempts to impose a national ban on single-use plastics back in October 2019 were unsuccessful following strong opposition from the plastics industry. This time however, India hopes to complete the task before the country’s 75th founding anniversary celebrated on 15th August 2022.

Plastic Pollution In The Post-Pandemic World: Where Are We Headed To?

Versatile, affordable and ever-present, plastics have been essential to keeping hospitals running and protecting our frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As demand skyrockets for masks, gloves, gowns and disposable bags, one thing is clear: plastics are indispensable, especially during a pandemic. But that’s only part of the bigger story. 

The devastating impact of COVID-19 and the extraordinary measures taken around the world have led to some tough questions for those working to combat plastic pollution. How do we support those in our community hit hardest by the outbreak? Can the recycling industry survive COVID-19? Can we still achieve a circular economy for plastics? And, how can we keep our work going in a world in which “normal” still seems so far away?

Amid restaurants and other food businesses, there has been a surge in home delivery or takeaway options. Many won’t allow customers to bring their own containers, defaulting to disposables which generate plastic waste. This means many consumers can’t reduce their plastic waste, even if they wanted to. Demand for products such as disposable wipes, cleaning agents, hand sanitiser, disposable gloves and masks is at a record high. Unfortunately, they’re also being thrown out in unprecedented volumes.

Amid understandable concern over health and hygiene during the pandemic, the problem of single-use plastics has taken a back seat. However, while the current increase in these disposable plastics is understandable, we also need to think about our planet’s long-term health. We can expect the environmental cause will return to the foreground when the COVID-19 crisis has passed. In the meantime, reuse what you have, and try to store rather than throw out items for donation or recycling.

Talk to takeaway food outlets about options for using your own containers, and refuse disposable cutlery or napkins with deliveries. Use the time to upskill your coffee-making at home rather than buying it in a takeaway cup. And look for grocery suppliers offering more sustainable delivery packaging, such as cardboard boxes or biodegradable bags.

As aware consumers, we need to advocate for businesses to uphold commitments to reduce plastic waste, and encourage them not to lose sight of longer-term sustainability targets. Embracing and helping popularize the concept of the circular economy for plastics is also imperative as it will help keep plastic waste out of our waterways, our oceans and our environment through the principle of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Above all, we need to be vigilant about ways environmental protections such as plastic bag bans might be undermined during the pandemic, and voice your concerns to politicians.

We stand at the junction of two diverging paths. One is a stop-gap solution that puts us solidly on track toward a not-so-distant future in which there is more plastic in the ocean than fish. The other is a sustainable model of living and working that will benefit us long into the future – one that will create a healthier, more equitable and more livable future for all.

Beyond Economic Recovery: What Budget 2021 has in store for India’s Post-Pandemic Green Recovery

The most obvious expectation from the Union Budget 2021-22 was to see it accelerate the post-pandemic recovery of the economy. But beyond the economic fast-track, another set of expectations have been in terms of activation of multiple levers for green recovery. 

While this pandemic has dampened hopes for transformative changes that are the need of the hour, certain schemes have been initiated in the discussion, which is a silver lining. Even though it is not possible to assess the adequacy of what has been tabled yet without the finer details of most of these green-led schemes, it is definitely encouraging to see explicit acknowledgment of and the real money allocated for these.

The new clean-air funding, for instance, will prove to be a good step forward in hopefully enabling deeper systemic changes for quantifiable improvement in the air quality. Acknowledging the need to ‘tackle the burgeoning problem of air pollution’, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has allocated Rs 2,217 crore for 42 urban centres with over a million population under the clean air scheme. It is, therefore, hoped that this new funding will stimulate systemic changes for verifiable air quality gains.

Furthermore, Budget 2021 has finally given the green signal to the much-anticipated voluntary vehicle scrappage policy that will help stimulate the market along with enabling the co-benefits of emissions reduction and fuel savings. This policy is expected to phase out the old and unfit vehicles, and give a further push to electric vehicles. However, it is hoped that this policy will provide direct incentives for scrapping old trucks and buses as well, and not remain limited to only the disincentives for scrapping.

There are several such strands in the new budget that can add up to maximise post-pandemic green recovery for the country. For instance, the support for enhanced swachhta programme for urban India will take a step forward in sourcing the segregation of garbage, reducing usage of single-use plastic, effectively managing waste from construction-and-demolition activities, and bioremediating all legacy dump sites, all eventually leading to reduced environmental pollution. 

While these steps need to go beyond short-term survival to be perceived as a longer-term ambition for transformation, it certainly marks a good start for the green recovery in India post the Covid-19 era.

Greenwashing: How To Spot and Stop The Bullshit!

In our hyper-consumption based societies, it is a smart decision to raise an eyebrow whenever you hear organizations make claims of how they are ‘doing their part’ in the quest to ‘save the Earth’. This is because most companies across the world today invest more time and money on marketing their products or brand as ‘green’ rather than actually doing the hard work to ensure that it is sustainable. And this is what greenwashing is.

Greenwashing essentially refers to a deceptive form of marketing with an underlying purpose to increase profits, in which companies claim how their products, policies, and goals etc. are ‘environment-friendly’ and therefore do less damage to nature.

While some greenwashing is unintentional and results from a lack of knowledge about what sustainability truly is, it is often intentionally carried out through a wide range of marketing and PR efforts. The common denominator, however, among all greenwashing is that it is not only misleading but also does not really help in furthering any sustainable design or circular economy initiatives. Thus, environmental problems most likely stay the same or get even worse.

One of the most pervasive examples of greenwashing is in the world of single-use plastic. A recent instance is that of leading coffee-chain Starbucks, which in 2018 announced eliminating plastic straws in its beverages globally by 2020. By changing its lid to a sippy cup style lid made of thicker plastic, the company claimed to replace plastic straws. Starbucks had also pointed out that this new lid can be recycled.

However, 91% of plastic produced globally is NOT recycled. And hence, these lids being recycled is a myth and most of these would end up in landfills or incinerators along with their matching cups. But the new lids succeeded in ‘greenwashing’ Starbucks customers, making them feel as though the company had done something for the environment.

Spot Greenwashing

So, how can we spot it?

As consumers, we have the power to see through the greenwashing and call bullshit where it is due. One of the easiest ways is to spot products and solutions with a wide range of vague buzzwords around eco-friendliness like ‘environment friendly’, ‘green’, ‘non-toxic’, ‘sustainable’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘compostable’, ‘ESP friendly’, etc. Most of these sound too good to be true. The statements are over-ambitious, communication overstated and perhaps with dramatic wording involved. The marketing claims are largely not backed up with specific details or the statements seem vague, unspecific and unclear.

Essentially, each time your intuition about the ‘eco-friendly’ aspect of a brand feels off and something just does not seem inherently right about the final product/solution offered; it most likely is a classic case of greenwashing.

Stop Greenwashing

Now, how do we avoid it?

However misleading greenwashing can be, it is not as big a deal to avoid it, really. All you have to ensure is doing your own research, keeping a careful eye, and going with your gut feeling. Reading the ingredients list carefully, looking for genuine third-party accreditation, watching out for fake approval seals and self-proclamation etc. are some ways in which a consumer can avoid falling in the trap of greenwashing. Ask questions; like what do claims such as ‘made from renewable resources’, ‘manufactured with zero emissions’, ‘carbon-neutral’ etc. actually mean?

Unfortunately, as long as people continue buying such ‘greenwashed’ products, companies will continue trying to keep up the facade of sustainability without actually following through. Instead of buying these, research and look for brands that are actually dedicated to upholding the environmental practices.

The biggest practice would be to not get overwhelmed by the clearly deceptive signals of greenwashing. Let this newfound knowledge empower you towards making more educated decisions on what to purchase. And with practice, picking up on these marketing gimmicks will surely become second nature, helping you spot and stop greenwashing easily and effectively!

Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Make A Difference To The Environment

It is easy to feel a sense of powerlessness when it comes to the environment. While reforms undoubtedly need to be made at the central, state and local government levels, our individual actions, at least in the aggregate and at community levels, can help make a significant difference. Here are some useful suggestions that can reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change:

Avoid all single-use disposable plastic items

Plastics help protect and preserve goods while reducing weight in transportation ― but the benefits pretty much end there. Plastics originate as fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases from creation to disposal, according to a May 2019 report, “Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet,” released by the Center for International Environment.

Recycling plastic alone will unfortunately not cut it; you have to stop buying it, too. Avoid single-use disposable plastic as much as you can. For instance, you may buy in bulk rather than purchasing packaged foods. Eliminate your takeout plastic waste by carrying your own non-plastic mug, water bottle, utensils, straw, food container, reusable bag. Try living a zero-waste lifestyle ― new zero-waste bulk stores are popping up all over to help you out.

Ditch the car

The decision to drive somewhere is a mindless thing for most of us: We hop in, maybe put our destination in Google Maps, and head from point A to point B. Over time, though, all those miles rack up. It is time to be more mindful of your driving and to avoid all unnecessary car trips and cluster errands for efficiency. Non-driving options like walking, biking, and making use of public transportation can help create a huge difference. 

Give composting a chance

Composting is considered as one of the most effective tools in the ‘save-the-world tool’ belt. That is because people waste an unbelievable amount of food and most of it ends up in a landfill. While one may think food would break down upon being dumped into a giant hole in the ground, it does not because landfills are not aerated for proper decomposition. On the contrary, all of that oxygen-deprived organic matter releases methane, which is 30 times more powerful and destructive than CO2. Composting, thus, is a good way to combat wastefulness. It can be done via tumbler bins, worm bins, trench composting, bokashi bins, electric composters etc., depending on whether you have a backyard or a balcony.

Opt for sustainable fashion

The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, according to the World Bank. The water used to manufacture clothing has drained rivers and lakes around the world, destroying ecosystems. Rectify your fast-fashion buying ways by wearing the clothes you do have instead of running out to purchase a new outfit for every occasion. If you are really yearning to shop, consider going secondhand. By doing this, not only are you reducing demand and stemming the flow of new stuff but are also helping keep existing items in use for longer, maximizing their potential and making the best use of the resources that were used.

Conduct more meetings online.

Quarantine has made work-from-home and online meetings the norm. But this has more benefits than just that of social distancing in these times. It will help cut down on the carbon footprint left behind by frequent travels to and fro, be it by road or by air. Conduct virtual meetings instead and save trips for once or twice each quarter. 

Engage family and friends in this discussion

Talk to your friends and family about these topics that need awareness. Personal stories are often the most effective in persuading others to give change a chance. Encourage your family, friends, acquaintances, and even the locally elected officials to implement bigger, more substantial changes in your city or district. You will feel less overwhelmed by your awareness of the problem when you each recognize the power to collectively solve it, share the tasks, and enjoy working together for our common good!

How Big a Difference Can Paper Straws Make to the Environment?

Single-use plastics have been posing serious problems for our planet since quite some time now, and the famous images of cluttered coastlines and suffering sea life stand as a testament to that. People all over the world are now understanding this fact and thankfully, governments are now beginning to act too. With single-use plastic ban being implemented in several countries, it is high time that businesses need to find an alternative; one that is acceptable to consumers while doing good for the environment too. 

Among all of the alternatives to plastic straws – from reusable metal and glass to disposable materials – biodegradable paper straws are the only option that provide concrete ecological benefits without sacrificing these important aspects of the user experience. However, what positive impact do they actually have on the environment? Here are four ways in which paper straws truly make a difference:

Paper straws reduce the threat of ocean trash.

Researchers estimate that 8 million tons of plastic material are added to the ocean every year. While half of the plastic produced is single-use – including straws, cotton buds, and cigarette buds – these items make up over 89% of ocean plastic. More importantly, this is not biodegradable and studies project that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Switching to paper straws will not fix the problems of trash that is already in the ocean. However, it can help us to stop adding more litter to the ocean. According to a study, plastic straws are the 7th most commonly collected waste items on beaches worldwide. Therefore, by turning to straws that are biodegradable and break down naturally, we can prevent this blight on our landscapes and ecosystems.

Paper straws reduce microplastics at sea and on land.

A highly important yet commonly overlooked fact about ocean plastics is that only 1% of it is actually visible. The whopping 99% is either too deep or too minute to be seen by the naked eye. We call these microplastics; and they have unfortunately reached some of the most remote parts of the world. 

In the ocean, these microplastics are ingested by sea life, thus harming individual creatures and affecting food chains largely. For instance, Zooplankton consume microplastics which prevents them from receiving sufficient nourishment from actual foods and hampers their ability to grow and reproduce. And as a result, the fish, whales, and other animals that eat plankton do not receive the food they need. On the other hand, paper straws disappear completely in a matter of months. This means that they may not enter the sea at all and even if they do, they would not cause harm when ingested. This can help ensure that everything in the food chain remains balanced.

Paper straws are non-toxic.

It is widely known that plastics may take as long as a thousand years to disappear completely. More concerningly, research suggests that while this process of breaking down is slow, plastics release chemicals into their environment as they do so. Plastics in the ocean, for instance, are thought to release bisphenol A, a chemical known to interfere with the hormones of animals if ingested. Similar chemicals are released by plastics that go to the landfills and local soil systems, rivers etc. can thus suffer as a result. When they are made from organic materials, such as paper, biodegradable straws do not release toxic substances. Rather, their chemical structures are easily digested by bacteria and will easily return to organic matter. When pollution from decomposing plastic can be up to 23 times as bad on land as it is in the ocean, the switch to biodegradable alternatives can make a huge difference.

Transitioning from plastic to paper reduces your carbon footprint.

Plastic production is among the most greenhouse-gas heavy industries in the world, notorious for firstly; being energy intensive and secondly; being produced from fossil fuels which are known to release greenhouse gases such as methane and ethylene as they degrade. So, the problem is not limited to plastic’s physical effect on sea life and their chemical impact on the earth. Instead, throughout their entire lifecycle, from manufacturing to its disposal, plastic contributes to global warming. As a result, adopting paper straws can help businesses partake in the battle against climate change, too. Unlike fossil fuels, paper straws are made from an alternative resource that is more ecologically sound – natural forests. As a result, these biodegradable straws can be carbon neutral and avoid such a dependence on non-renewable resources.

Keeping all this plausible impact in consideration, it is also important to remember that paper straws will not save the world alone. Only 1% of ocean’s litter is made up of these plastic products. However, as part of a larger move away from single-use plastics, these straws can certainly make a considerable difference to the health of our planet in the long run!

How To Efficiently Manage And Minimize Plastic Waste At The Government Level

The negative impact of plastic waste to our health and on our environment has been pretty evident. Be it the increasing respiratory issues due to air pollution from burning plastic, shortened life spans of animals owing to plastic consumption, or even the littered plastic clogging drains and contaminating our environment; the effects are severe even on a city level. Something needs to be done.

There are many ways to curb plastic waste, from producing and consuming less to better management of existing waste, thus preventing contamination. Fortunately, taking action regarding plastic waste is something we can do at all levels—citizens, communities, businesses, and governments. While the solutions may vary at each level, increased awareness, policy solutions, improved disposal processes, etc. are imperative to change behaviour and better manage plastic waste.

Here are some interesting interventions that are being made by different governments at the city level:

Holistic plastic waste ecosystems

One of the most effective ways would be to improve the core waste management system, thus controlling plastic waste at its very source. For instance, the Maldives, a country renowned for its coral reefs and beaches, has been facing increasing amounts of waste and litter in its ecosystems. To address the same, the country is investing in a sustainable disposal infrastructure which improves waste collection systems by splitting the islands into zones so as to make the most efficient use of shared resources.

Incentivization of recycled plastic

Even the simplest solutions pursued by local communities such as making use of recycled plastic as cement block fillers, ropes, and other household goods like baskets and mats can bring significant difference. At the same time on a larger scale, manufacturers can use recycled plastic to make clothing and furniture, etc. Therefore, using recycled plastic for products with monetary value including clothing, shoes, and construction material etc., society can be incentivized and put to productive use both in local and global capacities.

Adequate policy and planning

Upon putting in place adequate collection and disposal systems, cities can pursue focused interventions like banning certain types of plastic. For instance, California’s ban on plastic led to a significant 72% decrease in plastic litter on local beaches in a span of 2010 to 2017. However, at the same time, the issue of plastic mismanagement cannot be solved simply by a plastic ban. Many cities attempt implementation of bans on materials with no proper incentive or management structures, thus struggling to achieve meaningful results owing to noncompliance, black market setups, and continued littering in absence of adequate disposal systems. Therefore, plastic policies need to be better-planned and backed by an effective waste management system in order to truly bring about a change.

Partnerships with the informal sector

There is no denying that Informal waste collectors are the very powerhouse of recycling efforts across many countries, and tapping into them well can increase plastic recycling. In such a scenario, informal workers will not only earn higher and better-consistent wages owing to a steady demand for the materials, but the plastic recycling industry will also achieve resilience even during poor global markets. Countries across the globe can leverage the informal sector both to minimize plastic waste as well as to empower vulnerable populations socially.

The global plastic waste problem is undoubtedly multifaceted, but so are its solutions. How do you believe your city is making progress?

How To Efficiently Manage And Minimize Plastic Waste At The Community Level

The menace of plastic waste in urban sectors has become a monstrous reality. Even though India has the most comprehensive Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, it is largely just a directive on paper without effective enforcement and implementation. Substantial efforts have not been made to train and build the capacity of all stakeholders involved.

The government needs to educate and inform communities before executing any policies so that the desired results can be obtained. Such a joint effort would also result in huge savings by way of privatization and utilization at source, thus leading to reduction of manpower, transportation, and health services along with creation of livelihoods for the weaker sections of the society. Here is how this can be achieved:

Utilizing waste at the source

Urban areas typically have municipal parks both within and outside of the localities which are suited for composting. Considering how plastic waste fetches a price, rag-pickers end up unloading waste on the roads and carrying out the sorting for resale. This leaves the entire area dirty, inviting stray cattle and dogs who further spread the waste and lead to unhygienic conditions. Therefore, upon segregation, the waste should be collectively taken to the composting area. This would reduce manpower and transportation costs for the municipality and ensure that only 10% of the waste goes to the so-called ‘landfills’, which are virtually dumping sites. The same rag-picker would also get a substantial income by being employed at the composting site. Essentially, the profits from the sale of recyclable waste and compost could be shared between the residents’ association and the rag-picker.

Bringing together the rag-picker community

The rag-picker community is an important part of the waste management system. They are involved in segregation of waste and sale to the next level. This ensures a stable daily income for underprivileged individuals. The income would not only provide employment but also acknowledge their important contribution to the society, thus being a laudable step towards dignity of labour. The activities of rag-pickers are not systematic at present as they scavenge around from one locality to another. All rag-pickers in a particular locality should thus be brought together by municipal authorities, assigning them areas of responsibilities and introducing them to resident associations. The rag-pickers could also be trained for composting of waste and a certain amount from the sale proceeds can be allotted to them.

Catalyzing community action via NGOs

NGOs play a very crucial role in the catalyzing of any community action. These organizations have the expertise of systematically initiating programmes, putting in place the system, monitoring progress, and providing valuable guidance. Thus, forming a consortium of like-minded NGOs can help impart orientation training and hand-holding of resident associations till the system is set in place. To keep the enthusiasm intact, NGOs can engage children and organize competitions in neighbourhoods. NGOs may also involve the local residents and other charitable institutions to avail financial support for effective implementation.

In essence, plastic waste management cannot be successful without active involvement of all stakeholders, be it the civic agencies, communities, rag-pickers, NGOs, and the government. Efficient management is a concerted effort of all stakeholders, with each playing a vital role to play in successful implementation of the schemes. It is a win-win situation for all stakeholders while helping make our localities clean and green.

How To Efficiently Decrease And Manage Plastic Waste At Home

Plastic is found in virtually everything these days. Your food and hygiene products are packaged in it. Your car, phone and computer are made from it. And you might even chew on it daily in the form of gum. While most plastics are touted as recyclable, the reality is that they’re “downcycled.” A plastic milk carton can never be recycled into another carton — it can be made into a lower-quality item like plastic lumber, which can’t be recycled.

How big is the problem? Plastindia Foundation—a body of major associations, organisations and institutions connected with plastics—estimates that in 2017-18 alone, India consumed 16.5 million tonnes of plastic. Worse, according to industry body FICCI, 43 per cent of India’s plastics are used in packaging and are single-use plastic. The consumption of plastic has been increasing by 10 percent year on year. Even though plastic in itself may not be as harmful, the method of disposal is what causes true harm to the environment. 

Luckily, there are simple steps you can take that will dramatically decrease and manage the amount of plastic waste you generate.

Say no to plastic straws

One of the easiest ways to keep plastic out of the landfill is to refuse plastic straws. Simply inform your waiter or waitress that you don’t need one, and make sure to specify this when ordering at a drive-thru. Can’t fathom giving up the convenience of straws? Purchase a reusable paper, stainless steel or glass drinking straw. Restaurants are less likely to bring you a plastic one if they see that you have brought your own.

Avoid plastic bags

Plastic bags are nothing more than waste, so it is best if you make it a habit to use cloth bags instead of the plastic ones. When you are going to any grocery store, try to carry your own reusable bags instead of taking the cheap quality plastic bags given at the store. You may buy a lot of reusable bags from before and then store them in places where you will not forget to take them whenever you go out shopping. However, the usage of the cloth bags must not be just limited to grocery shopping. Make sure you use them when you go to shop for clothes, tools and other items as well.

Buy food with less packaging

One of the smart ways to reduce your home waste is by buying food with less packaging. Because when you buy food that is wrapped in plastic with individually wrapped packets within, then you are obviously producing excess waste in the form of so many plastic packets. In contrast to that, if you buy food that has minimal packaging, especially of plastic, then the amount of home waste produced daily will automatically reduce. For that, you may use the bulk food section. Buy rice, cereals, beans, spices, dry foods etc. from the bulk food section and then store the items in airtight containers after reaching home.

Avoid packaged drinks


There is no denying of the fact that bottled water or other bottled drinks are a major source of waste, so it is better to avoid using the bottled drinks. Now, in many places it is safer to go for bottled water than using tap water. If that is your case then it is okay. But if it is not your case, then you can easily use the tap water. You may filter the water if you want to purify it or if you do not like its original taste.

However, even when there is a situation where you have to buy bottled water, you can still reduce the amount of waste by buying the big containers. Like for example, buy a 20-litre reusable container of water rather than buying several small bottles as that will reduce the number of plastic bottles as garbage.

Donate old unused items

You will be surprised to see how much of home garbage can be reduced just by donating old and unused items. If you have old clothes, tools, electronics or other items that you do not use but are in decent condition, it is better if you donate those items to charity rather than dumping those as wastes. This will not just help you manage the waste of your home but will also come to the help of individuals who may be in dire need of those goods.

Reuse what you can

Simply by reusing, you can reduce garbage to a good extent. You can use the durable containers a number of times before throwing them in the garbage. All the bottles, bags and the boxes can serve a second purpose only if you know how to reuse them properly. For example;

  • You may use the plastic bags as dustbins.
  • If you have used paper, then you may give it to your children and let them draw on both sides of it.
  • The food-grade glass containers may be used for storing the dry food and the leftovers.
  • Even the plastic containers may be used for storage purposes.

However, avoid using them too many times as plastic, although food-grade may break down and start leaching chemicals into the food. But I hope you get the point.

Handle hazardous wastes properly

Even though we tell you to reuse or recycle items, there are some items that cannot be recycled or reused, so it is best to handle such items properly and carefully. Some of these are paint, batteries, light bulbs, computers, TV’s and other electronic items, etc. You need to throw such items in the trash or at the hazardous waste facility. 

Start composting your food and plant waste at home

One of the best ways to manage the waste of your home is by using the food scraps and the yard cuttings wisely. There is no need to throw the yard cuttings and the food scraps in the trash. This is because you can easily compost them and turn them into rich, fertile and nutritious soil that can be used to nourish your garden. And, if you do not have a garden at your home, you can give it to someone who has one.

It is high time that we understand the importance of keeping our environment free of hazardous waste and reducing pollution for our own safety. And, to make this happen, you need to apply strategies to reduce and manage home waste smartly and efficiently. These are very common and are extremely efficient in controlling the garbage output of your home. There is nothing very extraordinary in these hacks, but executing all of these tricks will definitely create a lot of difference in your home and society and overall environment!

Plastic Disposal And Recycling In India: Here’s What You Should Know!

Plastic waste management has been a pressing global issue since decades now. According to figures released in the latest annual report by the Central Pollution Control Board, India, which is the world’s second-most populous country, generates approximately 5.6 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. While India’s plastic waste management issue is not as huge as the first world countries, it is still growing at a rapid speed. 

The above-mentioned report on plastic waste by the CPCB stands as a testament to that: more affluent states like Goa produce over 60 grams per capita per day whereas the capital city of the country, Delhi is steadily catching up with 37 grams per capita per day. The national average consumption lies around 8 grams per capita per day.

On the brighter side, India recycles as much as 60% of its total plastic waste, which is as much as 38% more than the global average. 70% of this gets recycled at registered facilities, 20% in the unorganized sector, and 10% at households, as estimated by various sources. However, as societies become more affluent, they are bound to become more wasteful. Considering the huge litter of plastic we can already see on a daily basis in the cities, it is clear we cannot get confidently optimistic about these facts. In other words, this will continue working just as effectively unless we think differently and act decisively.

Per Capita Consumption

India’s per capita consumption is approximately 11 kilograms, which may seem insignificant when compared to the United States, where it is the global highest at 109 kilograms, as per a 2017 research by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The data further revealed the world average at about 28 kilograms. However, at the same time, the consumption was projected to increase to 20 kilogrammes by 2022, which is undoubtedly a substantial count.

Nation-wide Usage of Single-use Plastics

The central government is pursuing an ambitious project of phasing out single-use plastics such as bags, cutlery, and straws etc. by 2022. It has been observed that almost half of plastics consumed in India are used for packaging, with a substantial part of it being single-use, according to the industry. While several states in India have already taken the initiative to ban plastic carry bags, its enforcement has been lax as these are still widely used. Even though e-commerce giants such as Amazon India and Flipkart have extended their support to the government’s initiative by vowing to ditch single-use plastic for packaging in coming years, the campaign is far from tapping its full potential.

Visible Impact across India

Even though India is far ahead of the global average in terms of plastic waste management, the severe impact of plastic waste is visible in two of its major river systems. Waste does not typically get segregated in the country when collected, with vast amounts of it clogging public spaces as well as water bodies. According to the United Nations, Indus river at 164,332 tons and Meghna-Brahmaputra-Ganges at 72,845 tons carry some of the world’s highest amounts of plastic waste and debris to the oceans. These appalling figures indicate how there still is a long way to go.

Usage During the Pandemic

Covid-19 has undoubtedly been all-subsuming, making it difficult to think about or act upon all the other pressing issues concerning the world that are here to stay for long. One such issue is that of plastic waste management. The pandemic has further normalised plastic consumption via its usage in protection gear against the virus, be it gloves, masks or bodysuits. While this plastic protection gear is critical in the war against the novel coronavirus disease, it will ultimately contribute to the heaps of trash in our cities. And therefore, the need to incinerate the same in controlled and managed medical waste disposal facilities is severe.

Plastic Recycling Scenario in the Country

India makes use of the policy of the 4Rs: reducing the waste produced, reusing the material, recycling it to make new products, and recovering energy from the plastic waste. Through an efficient mix of technology, knowledge, and an ardent desire to bring about a change, the country has been finding sustainable solutions for this pressing challenge of plastic waste management. The segregation and recycling system here operates majorly through an informal chain of workers such as ragpickers who sort, and dealers who sell the recyclable plastic to plants.

Amidst such a scenario, there are steps that can be taken and lifestyle changes that can be made on an individual basis to ensure better plastic waste management. For more information and tips on how you can contribute to efficient waste management on a daily basis, check this link out. 

Why Plastic Straws are Harmful to the Environment?

Most plastics are not biodegradable. It proves to be extremely dangerous when we overproduce, overuse and over consume. Plastic cannot be broken down naturally by bacteria or other living organisms. As a result, harming the environment and wildlife habitats. 

The plastic build up finds its way into our lakes, rivers and oceans. This puts aquatic life in danger as they may ingest it or be exposed to the toxins that leach from it. Unfortunately, more often than not wildlife, like seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals get trapped or ensnared in plastic waste. Subsequently, millions of turtles and seabirds among other wildlife die each year from issues directly related to plastic. Approximately, 70% of seabirds and 30% of turtles ingest some type of plastic from the ocean. This is harmful to our environment not only because it’s non biodegradable which means a higher accumulation of waste, but also because it harms so many animals that sustain our environment. 

Plastic straws are one of the most widely used and therefore, the biggest culprit of plastic waste. Straws are also more prone to ending up in our waterways and ultimately the ocean due to beach littering and wind carrying light weight products. Most straws break into even smaller particles that release chemicals into the soil, air and water that is harmful to our environment in tremendous ways. Given this, the use of plastic straws is being banned and more people are switching to alternatives such as paper straws. 

Here are a few ways to protect the environment from plastic straws:

  1. Switch to plastic alternatives such as paper straws such as Piper Pipe’s 
  2. Reuse
  3. Reduce
  4. Recycle

The team at Paper Pipe wants to encourage people to stop using plastic straws for good. Here are some more facts about what our environment will look like if we don’t switch to alternatives:

  1. By the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight)*
  2. By 2050, 99% of all seabird species will have ingested plastic.
  3. Scientists at the UGA New Materials Institute conducted a new study which discovered microplastics particles smaller than dust or powdered sugar inside baby sea turtles. Of the turtles studied in this research, 100% were found to have eaten plastic. These baby sea turtles were likely dying due to ingested plastic pollution, which threatens the species’ survival.

Why Paper Straws are the Eco-friendliest Option?

In today’s eco-friendly moment a lot of consumers are looking for greener options for everyday products like straws. We’re seeing a huge ban on plastic in major cities and huge Food & Beverage chains opting out of using the plastic straw. However, this change has come with much confusion about what exactly is the best alternative. Going straw-less sometimes isn’t a feasible option, so how can we minimize our damage to this planet most? At the Paper Pipe research lab, we looked into all the alternatives to plastic, including metal, PLA and bamboo and reached a consensus that Paper was by far the eco-friendliest option, if it was being produced under the right conditions.

Metal Straws

The reusable metal straw has taken the world by storm recently. You might see it in bars and restaurants, many people even carry their own around. While using them is a great step towards reducing plastic pollution, in reality the picture is not all that positive. In reality, metal straws require a lot more energy to produce. Their production uses the carbon emissions of 150 plastic straws, so you’d have to use a metal straw 150 times to offset its use. And, this is highly unlikely because metal straws prone to grow bacteria or easily get misplaced.

PLA Straws

PLA straws, although made from natural ingredients and marketed as environmentally friendly, are actually quite the opposite. There is a lot of misconception around PLA straws and whether they are good for the environment. In reality, they are actually only ‘conditionally compostable”- which means they can only compost in industrial conditions with temperatures above 58°C. Unlike paper, they are non-biodegradable, and as a bioplastic they act exactly as plastic does in the environment.

Bamboo Straws

It’s another huge misconception that bamboo straws are the eco-friendliest alternative to plastic. To begin, they aren’t actually that reusable. Given that they grow bacteria really fast and break after a few uses, they’re actually a disposable product that contribute to waste and cost a lot to replace.  They’re also not feasible for the food and beverage industry because they need to be hand-washed. Moreover, the actual sourcing of bamboo is seldom monitored or sustainable, so you never actually know the conditions upon which the bamboo was harvested.  

Paper Straws

So that brings us to paper straws. Paper straws are by far the most environmentally friendly option because they are biodegradable, compostable and break down really quickly. They don’t harm our oceans and require much less energy to produce than any of their alternatives. However, it is important to research the brand and manufacturer of paper straws before purchasing. Different brands have different standards for production as well as sourcing. We, at Paper Pipe, not only source all our paper from responsibly managed local forests, but we also don’t add any chemical substances to our straws during their production. This means our straws are not just safer for the environment, but also your bodies. You wouldn’t want to put something out in the environment that you don’t want to put in your mouth, right?