Preparing for the Impending Ban on Single-Use Plastics- Part 2
A life without plastics seems impossible, since plastics are the main component in almost every single everyday item; from our computers and mobile phones, to food containers and other packaging.
Single-use plastics, however, generally have a functional life of less than a week, and are not designed to be repaired or refurbished. Single-use plastics include packaging, bags, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, and other items. Bioplastics are not exempt from the single-use plastic designation as in general; biodegradation only occurs under specific circumstances e.g. certain temperatures, and the presence of micro-organisms.
EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER
Our previous article noted that the ban on single use plastics will come into force from 2021. As Guyana prepares for this monumentous intervention regarding the waste management dilemma, lessons from previous waste management experiences come to mind. In enacting the Styrofoam Ban 2015 Regulations, it was noted that while the majority of consumers and businesses alike were willing to comply, the lack of alternatives, and more-so locally sourced ones posed a challenge. It is anticipated that similar challenges will be faced in enacting the ban on single-use plastics which has wider reaching implications. Many alternatives to plastic exist, from cloth, to paper, seaweed, and other natural fibres such as bagasse.
WHAT CAN YOU GIVE UP?
- Plastic shopping bags and packaging – here you have the opportunity to select the perfect specimen, but you can skip the nasty plastic packaging and use your own sustainable tote bags. Alternatively, you can easily make your own totes from any light fabric (e.g. an old t-shirt) or simply pack your produce in an old cardboard box. Pack your empty produce bags and a few reusable shopping bags together in a single reusable bag – you’ll always be ready for your next shopping trip!
- Water bottles -sometimes buying a bottle is just unavoidable – if you do, try to only buy clear PET bottles as they are the most readily recyclable.
- Take out containers – Every second 140 000 items of food packaging are disposed of.
- Drinking straws -there are now a variety of reusable options, with glass, stainless steel, bamboo and reed straws being the most popular.
- Wood hangers – are uniform in look and won’t break or bend under the pressure of heavy clothes; these items can also be made locally with lesser used species of wood.
You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.