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Disadvantages of Plastic: The Effects Plastic has on our Planet

Disadvantages of Plastic

What is Plastic?

Plastic is a generic term that covers all different types of synthetic materials that are used to make packaging materials, day-to-day items that are used in our household and a variety of things.

Plastic is present in almost everything we use. It can be moulded, bent or converted into any shape or size of our desire as required by our lifestyle.

While plastic has become a sort of mandate in our lives, we must know that heavy usage of plastic can create a solid waste problem globally. Proper disposal of plastic is of utmost importance, as disposing waste improperly can overflow the landfills and cause tremendous harm to our environment.

What are the different uses of plastic?

Plastic has become an indispensable part of everything we do. No matter how hard we try it's difficult to completely eliminate the use of plastic from our lives. It is widely used in food storage, water bottles, home supplies and other products. All industries globally use plastic materials in one or other ways.

Due to the uncontrolled use of plastic, its disposal has become a huge problem in major cities and towns alike.

What are the different types of plastics?

Plastics can be classified into two main types.

1. Thermoplastics
This type of plastic is called Thermoplastic polymer. They can be moulded into any desired shape with the help of heat and be reused multiple times. PVC or Polyvinyl chloride, polythene are good examples of such plastic. They are used to make a variety of bottles, plastic bags and so on.

2. Thermosetting plastic
This is also known as thermoset polymers and such types of plastic cannot be remoulded with the help of heat. Once they take the shape of a particular object, it must be used as it is. Bakelite and melamine are good examples of such plastics. In our household, common items such as switchboards, jug handles are made from thermosetting plastic.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of plastic?

Advantages of plastic are:

  1. Plastic is generally used for packaging food as it keeps it safe.
  2. The cost of producing plastic is low and its material itself is quite lightweight.
  3. Depending on your requirements it can be moulded into a transparent, translucent and opaque material.
  4. It is used for building houses, furniture, and safety coating on wires and pipes.
  5. It has great insulation properties.
  6. Plastic has high durability and lasts for a long time.
  7. It is shock absorbent and corrosion resistant.
  8. It does not decompose easily and can be used and reused for prolonged periods of time.
  9. Plastic is water-resistant.
  10. Plastic is a versatile material.

Disadvantages of plastic are:

  1. Plastic takes tons of years to decompose. Some plastics may even take 400 years or more to completely decompose.
  2. Producing plastic is cheap, however, it is done using a variety of toxic chemicals and colours. This can cause harm to the environment.
  3. The recycling process for plastic can be very expensive.
  4. Heavy use of plastic increases the pollution in the environment. Since most of the waste lands up in the oceans, it is quite harmful to aquatic life as well.
  5. Some plastics may not be able to take heavy loads and may deform or break due to the load.
  6. Plastic is combustible in nature
  7. It is also said eating from plastic boxes can cause cancer
  8. The burning of plastic releases toxic materials into the environment.
  9. Plastic degrades the quality of the soil.
  10. Plastic can cause fire if not disposed of correctly.

Take a  look at our Comparison Table 

Advantages of plastic                                          Disadvantages of plastic

It can be moulded according to your needs.

A variety of toxic chemicals are released while producing plastic

Keeps food safe

The recycling process for plastic is  expensive.

The cost of producing plastic is low 

Heavy use of plastic increases the pollution in the environment.

It can be moulded into a transparent, translucent and opaque material.

Some plastics may deform or break due to the load.

Can be used to build furniture, and safety coating on wires ,bottles and pipes.

Some plastics may deform or break due to the load.

Great insulation properties.

Plastic is combustible in nature

Plastic has high durability 

Eating from plastic boxes can cause cancer

Does not decompose easily 

The burning of plastic releases toxic materials into the environment.

Plastic is water-resistant.

Plastic takes tons of years to decompose

Plastic is a versatile material.

Plastic can cause fire if not disposed of correctly.

 

Frequently Asked Questions :

1. Are there any negative effects of plastic usage?
Long-term exposure to plastic is not good for living beings. Eating out of plastic containers may expose us to a variety of health disorders. If care is not taken today, this issue of excessive usage of plastic may harm the regular working of the human body.

2. Is plastic harmful to humans? If yes, how?
Humans widely used plastic every single day for a multipurpose. This kind of high exposure to plastic substances can cause long term disadvantages. When the toxic from plastic enter our body via food, water or air it creates a disturbance in our body functions and causes changes in our hormones.

3. Are there any major problems with the use of plastic?
It is true that there are both advantages and disadvantages to plastic usage. Plastic and essentially single-use plastic causes environment degradation, loss of aquatic life and fills up our landfills. It contaminates water bodies and releases toxic substances into the air, water and soil. Long-term usage of plastic can cause birth defects in children, compromise our immunity and even cause cancer.

4. What are the merits of plastic? How does it benefit the economy?
Plastic is water-resistant, chemical and even rust-resistant. It has thermal and insulating properties and is adhesive. Producing plastic is cheap and hence can be done in bulk quantities. It is also a highly durable material. It is lightweight in nature.

Conclusion
Plastic is widely used at all points in our lives. Businesses, communities, individuals and households use plastic on a regular basis to fulfill their needs and requirements. While utilizing plastic in small amounts has its own set of advantages, prolonged usage of plastic can prove to be disadvantageous for us and the environment. A balance must be maintained in terms of the usage and safe disposal of plastic.

On an individual level, care must be taken to avoid extreme usage of plastic. You could choose healthier options such as glass or toxic-free materials for cookware or utensils or water bottles and try your level best to avoid single-use plastic.

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