How Plastic Waste Is Hurting Your Health and How to Find Greener Options?

Plastic carrier bag 2 - beach thumbnail

Long-lasting and flexible – plastic makes our everyday life so much easier. We use it in the form of shopping bags, storage boxes, water bottles, toys, cutlery, product packaging, and whatnot. It is everywhere. 

Sadly, two-thirds of the annual plastic production becomes waste. This is because plastic is not biodegradable and will not decompose like organic materials. Once used, it will stay there forever – polluting the planet.

But do you know what’s worse? This plastic waste is hurting your health, too!

Today’s post will explain exactly how. We will also discuss green options like compostable trash bags and how to find them. Let’s get started!

How Is Plastic Waste Harming Your Health? 

Plastic pollution contaminates the environment. This means it makes its way into the air, water, and land. So, when it enters the water bodies, marine life ingests the microplastics. We consume these marine animals, and the microplastics enter the human food chain. 

Sadly, these microplastics can contain toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They are known to disrupt hormonal balance and have been linked to reproductive issues, developmental problems, and even cancer.

Burning plastic waste also releases harmful gas and particulate matter into the air. This contributes to respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

According to a report, almost a million people die annually because plastic trash is dumped and burnt near their residences. Constant exposure to toxic fumes makes them sick – eventually taking away their life.

Moreover, plastic waste also serves as the breeding ground for disease-carrying vectors like mosquitoes. This increases the risk of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

What Are Greener Alternatives & How to Find Them?

Greener alternatives to plastic include a range of materials that are biodegradable or compostable. This minimizes the negative impact on the environment and our health because the material breaks down after some time. It doesn’t stay forever. 

Some notable examples include:

  • Bioplastics: Derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, sugarcane, or cellulose, bioplastics decompose more quickly than traditional plastics. They can be used in packaging, utensils, and even clothing.
  • Reusable Materials: Embracing reusable options like stainless steel, glass, and bamboo reduces reliance on single-use plastics. Reusable bags, bottles, and containers offer durable and eco-friendly alternatives.
  • Natural Fibers: Materials like cotton, hemp, and jute offer biodegradable alternatives for textiles, packaging, and construction materials.
  • Mushroom Packaging: Mycelium (the root structure of mushrooms) can be molded into packaging materials that are fully compostable and even provide nutrients to the soil as they break down.

You can also find other green alternatives yourself. To do so, you must research products and materials by reading the labels and seeking “biodegradable” certifications. Eco-conscious brands often highlight sustainable practices and materials. This makes it easier for consumers to make environmentally responsible choices, too. 

Last Words

All in all, plastic is a huge threat to human civilization. If immediate measures are not taken, plastic waste can deplete our valuable energy resources, destroy our life cycle, and cause mass-scale destruction. 

It’s time we actively promote and adopt a greener lifestyle. So, replace plastic today and play your part in making the world a better place!