The Menace of Plastics

Thursday, June 30, 2016
Now that we've got you all pumped up about becoming a green warrior and saving our planet, lets get some fun facts sorted out !

Before we plunge into the R3 challenge, here are some FAQ's and eye openers .


Well at its heart, it is  the no plastic challenge, but taken many steps ahead. You are not only challenged to stop single use plastics, you are challenged to cut off plastic at its source, refuse it first, reduce it, think of ways to reuse it and finally recycle it. 

The point is, recycling also has its limits and shortcomings. The types of plastics are diverse and all cannot be handled the same way. Recycling can also have its environmental impacts like toxic fumes, heat production etc. So why go through all this trouble ? It's way better to reduce plastic use! 


Well, take a look at this and you'll be obsessed with reducing plastics too !!

1. POLYSTYRENE - Did you know that the styrofoam cups/ plates and bowls we so casually eat from are not meant for food at all?

2. BISPHENOL A -  one of the NASTIEST compounds - used to harden plastics - found frequently in baby bottles - mimics action of estrogen in the body - increases risk of breast cancer, causes infertility, low sperm counts, hormonal changes, asthma, obesity, diabetes, retards brain development of developing babies. 

And guess what? 

More than 90% of us have BPA in our bodies right now. We get most of it by eating foods that have been in containers made with BPA. 

Time to start detoxifying ourselves from BPA, don't you agree?

3. PHTHALATES - plasticisers, used in almost all types of plastics - causes asthma in children, and a lot more !

Did you know this? 

Scrubbing/ washing plastics often/ heating food in plastics/ eating hot food from plastic containers - causes the toxins in plastics to leach ie. get absorbed into your food 50 times faster!! 

So what only can you use? 

Category 1 - PET- Polyethylene - in all clear bottles, clear containers - USE ONLY ONCE! avoid consuming from them if container is hot. 

2 - HDPE- High Density Polyethylene - juice bottles, soap and detergent containers - RELATIVELY SAFE 

3 - PVC- PolyVinylChloride - food wraps, cooking oil bottles, covers - TOXIC - DO NOT USE WITH FOOD !

4 - LDPE - Low Density Polyethylene - grocery bags, some food wraps - RELATIVELY OK TO USE

5 - PP - Polypropylene - yogurt containers, opaque bottles and containers, medicine bottles - RELATIVELY SAFE 

6 - PS - Polystyrene - all styrofoam packing materials, disposable plates, cups, bowls - DO NOT USE WITH FOOD 

7 - BPA- laden plastics, all plastics not included in 1-6 categories, baby bottles - DO NOT USE WITH FOOD- has endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC's) - works like hormones in our body and causes mayhem !

So.. you now have a broad idea of why we should avoid plastics and what types of plastic to avoid , so what are you waiting for? start de-plasticising yourselves !! 

If plastics can affect our health at a molecular level, imagine the damage they cause at a macro level ! 


Plastic production hurts the environment .. how? 

most of the plastics are made from oil, generating heat and greenhouse gases during its production. 


and this trend doesn't seem to reduce anytime soon!

coming to the next big issue.. recycling and dumping the plastics. 

often, plastics are not fully recycled and end up in the dump-yard and worse still, our oceans!! 

so what, you may ask.. if the plastic ends up in the ocean?? I don't live there, you may say.. well think again !! 

it ain't a pretty picture, is it? the whole food cycle, from tiny fish to bigger ones and finally us, end up consuming the plastics! 

And not to mention, all marine creatures, from the tiny corals to beautiful turtles and sea birds, all ingest plastic and die a slow, painful death. 

Recycling isn't as squeaky clean as we think it is! 

burning plastics and recycling industries lets out chemicals called DIOXINS AND FURANS - they do everything from damaging immune system to causing cancer !

There you have it, a comprehensive overview on our everyday plastics, the hazards we face and the utmost need to reduce it right away !! 

Remember, recycling is only the last resort ! 

Now get into your R3 mode! The challenge follows. Are you ready to save the planet?

Share with your friends!

[Compiled by Dr. Apoorva]



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