Alternatives to Plastic You Can Use At Home #SuperBloggerChallenge2018

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Earth Day this year focuses on providing information and inspiration to eventually end plastic pollution.

Due to their unique nature, plastics take anywhere between 500 to a 1000 years to degrade. What this means is that whatever plastic exists now will still be there centuries later. This matters because in the end, all this ends up as pollution that reaches the bottom of the oceans and seas. Claiming to recycle plastic is at best a stop-gap measure. According to the World Economic Forum based on their studies, oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050.

We Indians are sadly the largest (60%) contributors to plastic waste that is dumped into the oceans every year. Our apathy in this regard results in the deaths of over 1 million sea birds and over 1 lakh marine animals every year. We need to make amends. Countries like France, Sweden, Iceland and Rwanda have already taken an active role, banning plastic in one form or the other.

My contribution this year to 'providing information and inspiration' to end plastic pollution is to offer you alternatives to plastic products.

The alternatives to plastic are there in our country. What needs to change is the mindset within us.

  • Some facial scrubs and body washes contain microbeads which are basically plastic particles. Opt for natural exfoliates.
  • Grocery bags remain the key as most stores provide plastic bags which can take centuries to biodegrade while also causing fatalities for sea creatures that choke on them. Instead, opt for paper bags or reusable cloth bags. Canvas totes are also a wonderful alternative.
  • Cardboard boxes come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for transferring larger items while traveling instead of multiple plastic bags.
  • Are you really so clumsy that you always drop the plastic containers in your kitchen? If not, opt for mason jars. Glass jars don't contain any toxins and can be reused.  
The alternatives to plastic are there in our country. What needs to change is the mindset within us.

  • Metal containers are great for transporting food and offer more benefits over plastic - durable, available in many sizes, can be used in maintaining various temperature extremes and lightweight.
  • Mesh bags for fruits and vegetables are actually a very simple solution for both carrying as well as storage.
  • Muslin bags also keep your produce fresh. 
  • Use wooden or stainless steel cooking and serving utensils.
  • Choose glass seasoning containers over plastic ones at the dining table.
  • Say no to straws.
  • Opt for silicone or natural rubber ice trays.
  • Choose water bottles made of stainless steel or glass with silicone

For your knowledge - alternatives to plastic that already exist but have yet to make it to India (at least mainstream) include those made of:
  • Chicken feathers (composed entirely of the super tough protein keratin) - inexpensive, abundant, strong, resistant to tearing and a renewable resource.
  • Liquid wood (biopolymer) - biodegradable, pulp-based lignin, renewable. Can be recycled as wood. Has been used as an alternative to toys, golf tees and speaker boxes.
  • Certain altered versions of plastics like polycaprolactone (PCL) and PHA polyesters - expensive, but biodegradable. 
  • Plastic made from processed corn/ wheat/ sugarcane -  Polylactic acid - biodegradable and no toxic fumes when burned.  

Earth Day may only come once a year but the damage we do every time we choose a non-biodegradable plastic product is one that lasts forever. In India, many cities including Karwar, Tirumala, Vasco and even my hometown of Kannur have enforced strict bans on the use of plastic. Many states actually have bans in place but they are weakly enforced, allowing for nearly 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste everyday in India alone.  

The alternatives to plastic are there in our country. What needs to change is the mindset within us.

Authors note:

The article is written as part of the #SuperBloggerChallenge2018 by #Instacuppa conducted by and and should not be re purposed, republished or use otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018 is not responsible for any infringement caused.

Other articles I had written during this challenge included:

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Let me know what you think.

  1. I would prefer mesh Bag as an alternative

  2. Excellent points Doc. I switched to glass tiffin and have metal water bottle. Heavy to carry, but so much safer than plastic. Plastic has destroyed our environment, it can't be burned, can't be buried! And the death of thousands of sea creatures is upon us. If everyone take these measures, imagine how much improvement we can make.

  3. I follow most of these. Have not been using plastic bin liners for ages. In Bangalore plastic bags are banned and we carry cloth and jute bags. One area where I see a lot of plastic is in packaging material for food items like pulses etc. But yes, we all must try to reduce our usage of plastic.

  4. Great points there, Roshan. While we moved to the present station, I made sure that I get rid of all the plastic spice jars. I now use mason jars and wooden spice boxes for storing my spices. A small deed can go a long way, I guess.

  5. Well written article and quite informative , It's high time now that we should think seriously about alternatives to plastic in our day to day life .

  6. Excellent article. I always look for plastic alternatives and looking forward to having my kitchen, plastic free soon. Your tips Will surely help me. Sharing it further #superbloggerchallenge #instacuppa

  7. Abhisek NayakApril 23, 2018

    Thanks for making us aware of ill effects of plastics and providing info about the alternatives of plastic which we can use in our daily lives for all good reasons.

  8. 60% of the total consumption is really huge and alarming number. Recently the plastic ban was implemented in Maharashtra. It is very imperative people are educated about the alternatives which can make the implementation of the ban much more effective.

  9. Great points. I use glass tiffin box, glass water bottles at home... Very Relevant post.

    Pls read my week10 post for #superbloggerchallenge2018 #instacuppa

  10. You're so right about the excessive use of plastic. I've moved to cloth bags a few years ago and composting waste is mandatory at the apartment where we stay. I love glass bottles too. Time to get rid of the plastic containers and move to glass and metal. Going back to basics as it were.

  11. I didn't know that we have these many alternatives for plastic. We started using more glass and wooden tools and utensils in kitchen.

  12. This is perfect.A resource to use more alternatives to pladtic.Chicken feather is really cool.#SuperBloggerChallenge2018 got better because of sincere writers like you.Thank you

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