Scientists estimate that the degradation / decomposition of plastic / plastic products lasts for many years, and so:
- plastic bag 10-1000 years,
- shopping bag 10-20 years,
- Styrofoam cup – 50 years,
- plastic cup or disposable plate – 400 years
- disposable diaper – 450 years,
- plastic bottle – 450-500 years.
But the process of their “natural” degradation in nature can last even more than 500 years.
Plastics are needed but are becoming the curse of civilization.
We must, we must start looking at plastics not only at the products we need but also as a deadly threat to the natural environment.
To reduce littering of our environment, several general principles for handling plastics have been developed. They were called the 4R principle. The 4R rule was developed for plastic products, but it should be applied to all wastes and remember to apply it as often as possible, according to another principle; “act locally to achieve a global effect”.
4R is in the English original Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and means: Reject, Reduce, Reuse, Recover.
The 4R principle is a set of principles for minimizing consumption and sound waste management – it is the basis of action for those who really care about the world and the environment in which we live.
Refuse – say NO to all disposable plastics, such as coffee mugs, straws, plastic bags, disposable cutlery and beverage stirrers. You use for seconds or minutes, and the decay lasts up to several hundred years. In the Far East, most people use their own chopsticks that they always carry with them – this is due to their customs and traditions but it is worth considering this (or maybe other) form of limiting the wastefulness of plastic disposable cutlery and dishes.
Reduce – choose products with the lowest possible plastic content: wrapped in paper instead of plastic packaging, buy biodegradable cotton sticks instead of plastic (despite their small size they are one of the most common garbage polluting the seas and oceans) and avoid plastic microfibers entering the environment in things like synthetic fiber clothing.
Reuse – use plastic containers (if you must) as many times as possible. Eat lunch or lunch in a reusable box, use a non-toxic, durable straw again, use plastic bottles or containers multiple times. Change the purpose of old, plastic things – create, for example, a nice flower pot or bird feeder to encourage children to this form of reuse of plastic products.
Recycle – recycling of plastics (and other materials) should be our daily habit. Waste segregation is the simplest form. But also buy products made from recycled materials, choose products that are easy to recycle, and rinse plastic waste before throwing it into the bin to remove it. Otherwise, it is difficult or impossible to recycle them at the current stage of the disposal technique.
Autor : Jerzy Czaplejewicz