Although all plastics are bad for the environment, some of the worst plastics ever made are single-use plastics. These plastics are used on a daily basis without a second thought. Around 30% of plastics consumed are those that are used once. What does this imply? We cause harm to ourselves and the environment when we use these plastics. This is because just like most plastics, they are made to last for ages. And worst still, a large number of these plastics are used on a daily basis, and only a few are recycled.
It might be simple to overlook the effects of our choices because of the convenience factor. However, every action has consequences. Even if they may not be in our time, is this the kind of legacy we want our kids to inherit?
In this article, we will be looking at the worst plastics we use daily and their alternatives. But before that, we need to understand what single-use plastics are.
What Are Single-use Plastics?
Single-use plastics are those plastics that are used only once and then discarded. They are not called the worst plastics for no reason. They are not only bad but are used every day which makes them more dangerous as they are made of hard plastics and hardly decompose. Our habits are the major contributor to this challenge that has led to a global issue.
And if we are going to make a remarkable effort toward sustainability, we need to be careful of our choices. This can be done by modifying our actions for our collective benefit.
By now I guess you are eager to know these single-use worst plastics that are used daily which are a threat to us. So stay on this page as your findings will amaze you.
Worst Plastic Products Ever Produced
1. Plastic Bottles
When we go to the shops to buy drinks or water, we opt for those drinks in a plastic container instead of bottles for convenience. Restaurants over the world sell millions of plastics in a single day. Do you know where they end up, our landfills, and ultimately in the sea?
We use these plastic bottles because it provides more convenience than carrying water cans that are made of glass or stainless steel. But they are among the worst plastics ever made and take a long time to decompose.
2. Plastic Drink Stirrers
Cocktail stirrers are a pleasant complement to drinks. However, most of them are made of the worst plastics and are only used once before being discarded. They eventually end up on our beaches and our waters. Plastic drink stirrers are not a necessity and they’re a trend that doesn’t fit into a sustainable future. But if you must use one then get a substitute rather than the disposable plastic version.
3. Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are one of the most common single-use plastics and are among the worst plastics ever made. People prefer to use plastic straws due to convenience. Sadly the production and the usage of plastic straws are a global problem than anyone could imagine.
Plastic straws are lightweight and that makes them easily carried by the wind into the waterways and end up in the water bodies. These straws are a threat to marine wildlife.
You can do away with these plastic straws by deciding to have your drinks without them. But if you must enjoy your drinks with straws, then go for healthy alternatives that are eco-friendly like bamboo straws, etc.
4. Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are one of the most dangerous killers of ocean animals and are tagged as the worst plastics ever made. This is because they are lightweight and can easily be carried by wind or flood into the ocean. We enjoy using them because they are handy when shopping.
We use these plastic shopping bags at grocery stores and supermarkets because they carry our shopping items home. These bags are not only harmful but largely among the worst plastics ever produced because just like other plastics, they do not decompose.
5. Helium Balloons
When we are celebrating a birthday party or any other special event. Balloons are mainly used for decorative purposes like decorating the party area, wedding venues, etc. And what do we do with the balloons? We set them free.
Helium balloons are the worst plastics ever made. Their usage has consequences on the birds and sea creatures. This is because they can be caught up in power lines, and trees or get into the ocean where they can be eaten by animals that mistake them for food and gets choked.
6. Plastic Cotton Bud
How can one mention the worst plastics and forget plastic cotton buds? They are among the major single plastics found in our environment. 1.5 billion single-use plastic cotton buds are produced each day. Too bad that a majority of them end up in our environment.
This causes harm because plastic cotton buds have the capacity to break down into microplastics that can be ingested by even the biggest whales. The danger this microplastic pose is that once in the body system, can block the digestive tract of this sea wildlife.
They lose the appetite to eat, starve and eventually die. This could lead to the extinction of endangered species. So we can go for other healthy alternatives to cleaning your ear like using bamboo cotton buds or going for an ear wash.
7. Plastic Cutlery
One accompanying thing that comes with eating out or buying food in takeaway packs is plastic cutlery. It could come in the form of a fork or spoon. These are habits we might have formed but we will be doing our environment and the world by extension a whole lot of good by going for cutlery that is environmentally friendly.
Microbeads are tiny plastic beads that are used in cosmetics to add texture or act as an exfoliator. These beads are dangerous because they can easily get stuck in the gills and stomachs of fish, turtles, or any other animals that live in the sea.
The microbeads also get stuck inside the water system which goes on to be consumed by humans. This becomes a serious threat to our existence as we consume water and use these microbeads for beauty products.
9. Plastic Takeaway Containers
Plastic take-away containers are mostly used by quick-service restaurants and fast food chains. Many people now prefer to buy their food in this container to be eaten in the comfort of their homes or offices.
Yes, it provides a lot of conveniences but at what cost? What about our responsibility to protect our environment? Knowing fully well that these are plastics should be enough concern for us to seek eco-friendly options.
You can go along with your food container next time to the restaurant if you want to take it away and they will readily do that.
10. Plastic-lined Coffee Cups and Lids
We love coffee and the majority of us take them every day. When you take your favorite coffee in a plastic coffee cup, know that you are contributing to plastic pollution in our environment. This is simply because most coffee cups are made of plastics.
11. Disposable Plastic Cups, Plates, and Bowls
Plastics are generally affordable and so are the plates, cups, and bowls. Coupled with the convenience of using them, they are a favorite for picnics and parks. The organizer of these events has one thing in mind, to use items they don’t need to wash afterward. As a result, they are discarded in the trash cans afterward. And by now, we know that plastics take centuries to decompose.
12. Wet Wipes
Once in a while, we made use of wet wipes to clean our faces, hands, or children. In our minds, we may think they don’t contain plastic but they actually do and aren’t harmless as we think. Using an eco-friendly substitute is the best we can do for our environment.
13. Crisp Packets
Many people love to snack away and your day won’t be complete without eating your favorite snacks. While you are on it, do you know that those shiny-lined packs that keep your snacks crunchy and fresh are made of plastics? You don’t believe that I guess. Then let’s do this little test. After eating your snacks, squeeze the packet in your palm, if it springs back almost immediately, then know that it contains plastics. But unfortunately, many of us have this habit of dropping them in the streets once the content is finished.
Since there is not much you can do as you are not the manufacturer of the product. It now lies on the government to make laws that will stop manufacturing companies from using plastic packets but to use eco-friendly packets or have them recycled.
14. Tire microplastics
The millions of cars on our roads are not only warming our climate but also constitute a danger to our environment. Car tires contain plastics that shed tiny particles on the roads.
And when it rains, these particles are washed into drains and waterways. Eventually, they end up in the sea.
15. Menstrual Products
Millions of women use products on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, most pads and tampons are made of plastics. They get disposed of and remain in our environment for as long as possible. But we can do better by using alternative products that are eco-friendly.
There are washable ones but if you don’t like them, you can go for plastic-free disposable ones that are made of cotton.
What is skincare without microbeads? Cosmetics contain plastics. Plastic microbeads are used in cosmetics as an exfoliator. Instead of these cosmetics that are unhealthy, you can go natural by using natural skincare alternatives.
Plastic pollution is bad for the environment and single-use plastics are the worst plastics ever made as they compound the issue of plastics already existing in our environment. A lot needs to be done to curtail this. As human beings, more effort is needed on our part to minimize this plastic pollution by using alternative products like paper, stainless steel, etc which are biodegradable and cause less harm to our environment.