New Delhi: Since 1950, humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics and most of that synthetic material still exists on our planet. The above finding from the journal Science Advances is enough to show the battle our planet is fighting. To remedy the situation, the government and a few companies have modelled plans to decrease single-use plastic, and promote recycling of the material. While some companies have shifted to biodegradable materials, others have refill schemes or packaging-less products on offer.
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However, the general message remains – boycott plastic. Many companies are opting for PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic- a relatively safer form of the material – for their packaging. Another environmental friendly initiative is post-consumer resin (PCR) created by product that completes its cycle as a consumer item. Shriti Malhotra, CEO, The Body Shop, India said,
The Body Shop is currently undergoing a comprehensive review of sustainable packaging in a socially and environmentally viable way. We are incorporating 100% PCR material into some of 60ml, 250ml and 750ml bottles by the end of 2019. This accounts for approximately 580 tonnes of new plastic saved year on year. By the end of 2019, we will be using 61% recycled PET plastic across all product lines. Our long term vision is that by 2030, we aim to have a completely closed loop system for all our packaging.
Packaging of the product is one aspect, but what about the inside product? In another shocking revelation, scientists have found that almost 1,00,000 tiny microbeads could be released with every single application of products like facial scrubs, according to Journal of Marine Pollution Bulletin.
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Plastic microbeads are tiny ingredients used in cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products, including face scrubs, toothpaste, shaving products, and floor cleaners.
While searching for better solutions to meet consumer’s needs without having an adverse effect on the environment, a few beauty product companies have committed to replacing plastic microbeads with the natural ones. Naveen Anand, senior director, Oriflame, South Asia said,
Instead of using plastic microbeads in all of our exfoliating products, we only use biodegradable, natural-origin beads because they are better for our oceans and for marine life. Our strategy is built on a long-held commitment to the principles of sustainability. We have restricted the use of almost 1,300 ingredients that we feel are unsafe for our consumers and for the environment.
Other than micro-plastic, wet wipes are also causing long-term problems for the environment, especially marine life. Apart from causing mountains of trouble in wastewater systems, wipes can find their way into oceans, where they can cause long-term problems for sea creatures and the marine environment, according to Friends of the Earth, an international network of environmental organisations. Rishu Gandhi, head of brand strategy at Mother Sparsh, a baby product company said,
According to a research, baby wipes are the 3rd largest source of plastic based pollutants in consumer-based goods category. This one-time use product is flying off the shelves due to its cost-effectiveness and wider availability.
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Wet wipes are multi-utility hygiene products which can be used by people of various ages and genders, as they are used as facial tissues, hand cleaning, and other similar reasons. No doubt, every form of plastic has become a big part of our lives, curbing its use completely isn’t possible, but we can go for its alternatives to minimise usage.
Ms. Gandhi added,
We are trying to contribute to the green cause by providing products which are eco-friendly and biodegradable in nature. Mother Sparsh wipes are gentle on the skin and are made of zero polyester, renewable natural plant-based fabric, purified water and natural plant extracts.
While the governments and companies are making sustained efforts towards combating the plastic menace, steps at individual levels are the need of the hour. Because in the end, it won’t matter whether it was your plastic or mine as the Earth will be the one to suffer, so save it while make-up.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.