Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (2023)

Plastic pollution has become one of the most serious environmental issues, with demand for and production of disposable plastic products already overwhelming the world’s ability to deal with them.

Naturally, this represents a huge threat to the environment. Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year- in most cases by mistaking plastic for food. Rivers and coastlines are choked with plastic left-overs, and landfills have become packed with plastics that will take 400 years and upwards to disappear, if they will at all.

In the West, the above tends to be common knowledge, though in many cases it has taken a concerted effort from the governments through clean-up and education programs, along with varying forms of punishment, among them fines, to bring citizens and businesses into line with regards to sensible waste management and proper recycling. Not to mention huge sums of money invested in recycling facilities and collection.

Georgia has been a country slow to catch up with the West in terms of environmental awareness, with many, in urban as well as rural settlements, still careless with their waste, and local governments lacking the adequate resources to improve the situation.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), around 900,000 tons of waste is generated annually in Georgia, and more than 75% ends up in landfills, increasing pollution and posing long-lasting threats to the environment and human health. Georgia’s National Waste Management Strategy for 2016-2030 provides a target timeline for recycling certain types of waste. For example, the country should be recycling 50% of plastic waste by 2025 and 80% by 2030.

Education programs in schools on the issues of eco-care and sustainable waste management are still in their infancy, but are developing, and campaigns and competitions run by various organizations, most prominent among them CENN, empower Georgia’s youth to discover more, to compete in awareness-raising in their communities, and to organize local clean-up events.

My own children were inspired by one such campaign last year and, stuck in lockdown, I was happy to make it a family project. Our job: to create posters promoting environment protection. We were among 160 families and school teams countrywide to participate.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (1)

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We’re a reasonably eco-conscious family. We’re vegetarian, don’t own a car, switch the lights off behind us, turn the tap off while brushing our teeth, use long-life bags when shopping, try to choose products with minimum packaging or made of recyclable/easily degradable materials, and recycle our bottles and caps when we can. We’ve also been on litter-picks with school, kindergarten and various groups of locals and expats. But I know that what we do is not enough by far, and I always aim to do more, where possible.

My eldest daughter Lily, 10 at the time, had her eyes opened as wide as mine when we started the poster-making project last year.

“I worked on this ‘Keep Georgia Tidy’ project with my sister Dali (8), my brother Toran (6) and my mum Katie,” she says. “We talked together about what effect people have on the environment, and we watched some YouTube videos about it. We came up with three main problems:

“During the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people have been dropping their used gloves or masks in the street instead of putting them in the bin. These then damage our nature and are dangerous to us and animals. People should put non-recyclable things carefully in the bin and recyclable things in a recycle bin to keep our streets and nature tidy!

“Per day, around the world, people throw away 60 million plastic bottles. One bottle takes 450 years to decompose. We looked into ways we could reuse bottles instead of throwing them away. With a clean, empty bottle, you can make a pencilcase, a piggy bank, a flower pot, toys like planes and cars, or cute shades for fairylights,” Lily notes.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (2)

“People buy and throw away too many clothes- 13 million tons per year go to waste! We looked for ways we could reuse our old clothes (apart from giving them to the needy). You can make a hat, new pockets or patches for your jeans, a pencilcase, a bag, or even cushion covers!

“We worked on our posters as a team, as a family, and all the posters were made from recycled materials,” Lily says. “I think it’s very important that we look after the environment and make new things out of old things, and that we all keep our Georgia tidy!” she added.

One of the winners included 11-year old Mariam Bedia, who was chosen for her and her mother’s inventive reusing of plastic bottles- with everything from colorful flower pots and ornaments, to beautiful bags.

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“If we don’t reduce waste, nothing else matters,” she said.

And I couldn’t have agreed more. In fact, what I learned about plastic waste alone was enough to shock and sadden me (see the “shock box” below), making me more determined than ever, starting from my own family, to minimize our use of plastic even further- more than anything by choosing not to buy plastic, by reusing the plastic we have purchased, by upcycling like Mariam (turning a plastic object into something else that is just as useful) and, as a last resort, by recycling – in this way setting an example for others to follow. Check out some of the things I’ve changed in my life, and see if you get inspired too.

How to reduce plastic in your life

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (3)

Start by taking a visit to shop ‘Zero Effect’ in Tbilisi. There, you’ll fine bamboo toothbrushes and cutlery, wooden-handled razors, cloth bags, wooden hair brushes and combs, and numerous other daily items you have at home but in plastic. By switching to wood and fabric, and rejecting plastic, you’re making an impact on what goes into landfills or the sea.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (4)

Use hand-made soap and shampoo bars instead of buying plastic one-use bottles. In Tbilisi, head to the craft fairs often held near Freedom (Liberty) Square, in Orbeliani Square, and in Deda Ena Park, where you’ll find a selection of highly recommended, organic and beautifully presented soaps and shampoos. Also check out the online options Soap.ge, Zero Effect, and SapovnelaNatural.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (5)

For ladies – look into getting a menstrual cup (sometimes known as a “MoonCup”) rather than using tampons and towels. Although they take a bit of getting used to, they last years, save money, and reduce the risks of infection when used correctly. And, of course, they prevent your next trip to the sea being spoiled by unsightly waste washing up on the sand next to you!

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (6)

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For tea-drinkers – buy loose tea rather than tea bags. Several tea bag brands usepolypropylene, a sealing plastic, to keep their tea bags from falling apart. This plastic is not recyclable or biodegradable. So, even when you put all your used tea bags in the food waste or compost heap, it can lead to plastic pollution, as not all of it will be broken down.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (7)

For soda-lovers – even cans of fizzy drinks contain plastic, so choose glass bottles. The taste is generally better, and you can make use of the bottles, as many Georgians do, for your next batch of Tkemali (that famed plum sauce)!

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (8)

Donate your clean bottle caps to Tbilisi’s ‘Precious Plastic Georgia’, who melt the plastic down to make practical and beautiful furniture and artwork. Kiwi Vegan Café (6 Machabeli Street) is one collection point, but you can contact PPG on Facebook for more information.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (9)

For outdoors-lovers – As Lily said, worldwide, we humans are throwing away around 60 million plastic bottles a day. Do your part to reduce this number by switching to a long-life bottle that you can fill with water, wash, and refill over and over again.

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (10)

For shoppers – The average time a polyethylene bag is used is only 12 minutes. Yet, they can take up to 1000 years to decompose in nature, and, as any traveler will know, there are a lot of them in Georgian nature! Invest in some life-long shopping bags made of fabric or sturdy plastic fibers, and keep them in the back of the car or hung near your door so you remember to take them on every shopping trip.

(Video) Propolis

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For those on a night out with friends, or ordering a fast-food lunch – Say “no” to drinking straws, and an even stronger “no” to plastic lids on your paper cups. Nearly 7.5 million plastic straws were found on US shorelines during a five-year cleanup research project recently. Globally, that would be up to 8.3 billion plastic straws on the world’s coastlines. Yet, currently, plastic straws make up about 99% of the $3 billion global drinking-straw market. Think about it next time you order a drink – you really don’t need that straw, do you?

Here’s Why You Should Say No to Plastic (and How) - Georgia Today (12)

For those feeling crafty – Get online for fun ways to reuse your plastic trash. There is no end to the useful and decorative items you can make with a bit of inspiration!

Good luck on your plastic reduction mission. And remember, every little helps, but you should always aim bigger!

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BLOG by Katie Ruth Davies

Tags: CENNplasticPlastic Pollutionrecyclingreducing plastic wasteupcyclingwaste management

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FAQs

What is the answer to the plastic problem? ›

Wherever you live, the easiest and most direct way that you can get started is by reducing your own use of single-use plastics. Single-use plastics include plastic bags, water bottles, straws, cups, utensils, dry cleaning bags, take-out containers, and any other plastic items that are used once and then discarded.

What is the conclusion of say no to plastic? ›

They are destroying nature due to their harmful effect. Plastic bags have become the main cause of land pollution today. The plastic bags entering into the water bodies are a major cause of water pollution. Hence we can conclude that these are deteriorating our environment in every possible way.

Why should we no to plastic? ›

Plastic is not only environmentally harmful to manufacture and dispose of, but it also takes a toll on your health, and it takes an incredibly long time to degrade in a natural environment. Many of these plastics also make their way into the food chains of many animals, some that we also eventually consume.

What really happens to the plastic you throw away summary? ›

Most of the rest ends up in landfills where it may take up to 500 years to decompose, and potentially leak pollutants into the soil and water. It's estimated that there are already 165 million tons of plastic debris floating around in the oceans threatening the health and safety of marine life.

What are 3 problems with plastic? ›

The growing rate of plastic production raises problems in many areas of our society. It's contributing to waste and pollution issues, it's impacting our health, and it's threatening our oceans and wildlife.

What problems do plastics cause? ›

Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. Endangered wildlife like Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific loggerhead sea turtles are among nearly 700 species that eat and get caught in plastic litter.

Should plastic be banned essay short? ›

Reasons to Ban Plastic Bags

Waste plastic bags are polluting the land and water immensely. Plastic bags have become a threat to the life of animals living on earth as well as in water. Chemicals released by waste plastic bags enter the soil and make it infertile.

How can we solve the problem of plastic essay? ›

We must use alternatives like cloth bags and paper bags instead of plastic bags. If we are purchasing plastic, we must reuse it. We must avoid drinking bottled water which contributes largely to plastic pollution. The government must put a plastic ban on the use of plastic.

Why should we say no to plastic suggest three points of your own? ›

Plastics are non-biodegradable. Once introduced into the environment, they take several years to decompose. Plastics cause environmental pollution. They cannot be burnt as when burnt, they release poisonous gases.

Why plastic is a big problem? ›

But the problem with plastic is that most of it isn't biodegradable. It doesn't rot, like paper or food, so instead it can hang around in the environment for hundreds of years. Each year, 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced and 40% of that is single-use - plastic we'll only use once before it's binned.

Why is plastic bad for the environment? ›

Plastic fills our dumps, homes and oceans. Plastic pollution takes a huge toll on wildlife: More than 700 species, including sea turtles, fish and whales, eat plastic or get tangled up in it. Plastic will soon outweigh all the fish in the sea, and it's in our drinking water and on our plates.

How long until plastic is gone? ›

Plastics can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose, depending on the material and structure.

How does plastic affect our future? ›

Plastic by numbers

By 2020, the exponential growth in plastic production increased that figure to about 400 MT. At this rate, plastic production is expected to double by 2040 and increase by 2.5 times by 2050. Unless we change how we make and manage plastics, the problem of plastic pollution will keep on growing.

What will happen if we don't recycle plastic? ›

Without recycling, this "wasted" plastic cannot be reworked and reused. Instead, new plastic must be made, requiring additional natural resources. You can help to save the environment by keeping wasted plastics out of the landfills, air, and oceans as well as cut down on natural resource used to make new plastics.

What happens if we use too much plastic? ›

Simply put, plastic pollution occurs when plastic has gathered in an area and has begun to negatively impact the natural environment and create problems for plants, wildlife, and even the human population. Often this includes killing plant life and posing dangers to local animals.

What are the 10 disadvantages of plastic? ›

Disadvantages of plastics
  • Typically, plastics are created from non-renewable resources. ...
  • The pollution in the world's waters is predominantly plastic. ...
  • Multiple economic costs could result from plastic pollution. ...
  • Unable to infinitely recycle plastic products. ...
  • In order to recycle goods, we must use energy to clean plastic.

Is plastic the biggest problem? ›

Much of the planet is swimming in discarded plastic, which is harming animal and possibly human health. Can it be cleaned up? Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as rapidly increasing production of disposable plastic products overwhelms the world's ability to deal with them.

How plastic hurts the world? ›

How does plastic harm the environment? Plastic sticks around in the environment for ages, threatening wildlife and spreading toxins. Plastic also contributes to global warming. Almost all plastics are made from chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels (gas, oil and even coal).

What are 5 examples of plastic waste? ›

Cigarette butts — whose filters contain tiny plastic fibers — are the most common type of plastic waste found in the environment. Food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, plastic straws, and stirrers are the next most common items.

Who causes plastic pollution? ›

Humans invented plastic, but humans will have to also solve the problems caused by it. Who is responsible for the plastic pollution? There are three parties that bear this responsibility. Governments that can make and enforce rules, companies that produce or use plastics, and consumers.

What are 4 disadvantages of plastic? ›

Disadvantages of Plastics
  • Natural decomposition of plastic can last from 400-1000 years and few types of plastics are non-degradable as well.
  • Plastic materials clog waterways, oceans, seas, lakes etc. ...
  • Many animals eat plastic materials and die. ...
  • Plastic is widely used in packaging.
24 Feb 2022

Should plastic be banned 10 sentences? ›

1) Plastic bags are non-recyclable and harmful for both nature and humans. 2) The plastic bags are hard to be segregated from the wastes to be recycled. 3) Packed food in the plastic bags are not healthy and cause deadly diseases. 4) Plastic bags do not only pollute the land and oceans but air also (after burning).

Who invented plastic? ›

Belgian chemist and clever marketeer Leo Baekeland pioneered the first fully synthetic plastic in 1907. He beat his Scottish rival, James Swinburne, to the patent office by one day. His invention, which he would christen Bakelite, combined two chemicals, formaldehyde and phenol, under heat and pressure.

How students can reduce plastic? ›

Use a reusable water bottle

Say goodbye to single-use plastic bottles! Carrying a reusable bottle is a great way to cut your plastic use and save money too. Encourage pupils to fill up their reusable bottles and put them in their school bag as part of their morning routine.

What are 3 benefits of plastic? ›

Advantages of Plastics

Lighter weight than competing materials reduces fuel consumption during transportation. Good safety and hygiene properties for food packaging. Durability and longevity. Resistance to chemicals, water and impact.

Why we should not use plastic bags answer in short? ›

Plastic bags start out as fossil fuels and end up as deadly waste in landfills and the ocean. Birds often mistake shredded plastic bags for food, filling their stomachs with toxic debris. For hungry sea turtles, it's nearly impossible to distinguish between jellyfish and floating plastic shopping bags.

Why should plastic should not be banned? ›

Banning plastic bags dismisses them as useless, and disregards their practical functionality, durability and affordability. It is the misuse and improper disposal of plastic bags that is causing harm to the environment, not the product itself.

Can we live without plastic? ›

Say goodbye to single-use plastics

Plastic cups, straws and bottles (along with bags) are some of the most environmentally harmful products. They can't be recycled and take centuries to disintegrate. There are many sustainable alternatives to these products in materials such as bamboo, paper and ceramics.

How can we destroy plastic without pollution? ›

Make Green choices at home in choosing products with less plastic packaging. Move away from the throwaway culture. Avoid cosmetics and personal hygiene products with microbeads. Microbeads, a type of microplastic, are the little dots in your toothpaste, and facial scrubs.

How do plastics affect society? ›

“Plastics have transformed our lives: revolutionized medicine, lighten every car and jumbo jet today, saving fuel—and pollution. In the form of clingy, light-as-air wraps, they extend the life of fresh food. In airbags, incubators, helmets, or simply by delivering clean drinking water plastics save lives daily.

Is it worth it to recycle plastic? ›

Yet another problem is that plastic recycling is simply not economical. Recycled plastic costs more than new plastic because collecting, sorting, transporting, and reprocessing plastic waste is exorbitantly expensive. The petrochemical industry is rapidly expanding, which will further lower the cost of new plastic.

Is plastic actually a problem? ›

Because plastics and their ingredients are pervading our oceans and waterways, invading the bodies of humans and wildlife, and filling landfills (with new and once recycled plastic) the Ecology Center recommends eliminating plastics from your life, as much as possible.

How can plastic affect humans? ›

These small plastic particles may harm our health once they have entered our bodies. Plastic products contain chemical additives. A number of these chemicals have been associated with serious health problems such as hormone-related cancers, infertility and neurodevelopment disorders like ADHD and autism.

What are 10 facts about plastic pollution? ›

What is Giving Compass?
  • Only 9% of all plastic produced is recycled.
  • A whopping 2 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide.
  • Single-use plastics are illegal in some parts of the world.
  • Every minute of every day a truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean.
  • 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
4 Sept 2022

Is plastic good or bad? ›

But at face value, plastic is bad for the environment, and there's no denying that. While medical applications of plastic are pretty much essential — plastics for medical uses have been relied upon to keep people safe — the environmental impact of plastic is still impossible to ignore.

Can plastic ever be replaced? ›

Plastic materials can take centuries to degrade, but replacing them with mode degradable materials is challenging. However, many companies and researchers are invested in finding plastic alternatives that do not cost the earth.

How much plastic is dropped every day? ›

Every day around 8 million pieces of plastic makes their way into our oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is around 1.6 million square kilometers – bigger than Texas. The world produces 381 million tonnes in plastic waste yearly – this is set to double by 2034.

Does salt water break down plastic? ›

Conversely, plastics are inert to salts, which means floating ions pass right over the material without any negative effects. All plastics are inherently resistant to all salts.

Where does plastic waste go? ›

Plastic you put in the bin ends up in landfill. When rubbish is being transported to landfill, plastic is often blown away because it's so lightweight. From there, it can eventually clutter around drains and enter rivers and the sea this way. Litter dropped on the street doesn't stay there.

Is the plastic problem solvable? ›

With roughly 11 million metric tons of plastic flowing into our ocean each year—a figure that could nearly triple by 2040 without urgent action—many people might view marine plastic pollution as an insurmountable problem.

Is plastic a real threat? ›

The billions upon billions of items of plastic waste choking our oceans, lakes, and rivers and piling up on land is more than unsightly and harmful to plants and wildlife. Plastic Pollution is a very real and growing threat to human health.

What will replace plastic in the future? ›

Paper and polylactic acid (PLA) are currently the two most popular alternatives to single-use plastics. While PLA is only biodegradable in industrial composting plants, both paper and bioderived plastics like PLA and many other “plant-based” compostable alternatives could be major greenhouse gas emitters.

Will the world ever stop using plastic? ›

But we don't really know yet what the impacts are on human health." But here's the thing about plastic: We'll probably never be able to stop producing it. And that's OK: Plastic has many excellent uses. But continuing to make more and more each year is unsustainable.

Why can't we stop using plastic? ›

If plastic packaging is banned alternative packaging materials need to be used. Right now, paper, glass, or aluminium can't perform many of the function's plastic does: Plastic provides an air, water and hygiene-tight barrier for perishable and easily-damaged goods.

How can we recycle plastic waste? ›

It is a two-stage process: Sorting is mainly done automatically with a manual sort to ensure all contaminants have been removed. Once sorted and cleaned, plastic can either be shredded into flakes or melt processed to form pellets before finally being moulded into new products.

Why single-use plastic is harmful? ›

The plastic typically used in bottles, bags and food containers contains chemical additives such as endocrine disruptors, which are associated with negative health effects including cancers, birth defects and immune system suppression in humans and wildlife.

What are the 7 ways that we can help reduce plastic use? ›

7 Ways to Use Less Plastic
  • Use reusable bottles and cups. ...
  • Avoid using plastic straws. ...
  • Bring your own bags for grocery shopping. ...
  • Switch to bar soap and boxed laundry detergent. ...
  • Bring reusable cutlery and containers for take-out food. ...
  • Use non-plastic reusable containers for food storage. ...
  • Shop at second-hand stores.
7 Jun 2021

How much plastic do people use? ›

The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Humans use about 1.2 million plastic bottles per minute in total. Approximately 91% of plastic is not recycled. Roughly half of our global annual plastic production is destined for a single-use product.

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