Meditation & Health #21- Harmless Plastic Bags
Harmless Plastic Bags
By Mu Feng & Qing Ben
In our daily lives, we often walk into a shop, pick out and pay for our desired items, and walk out with the purchases in several plastic bags. This widespread dependence on plastic bags is wreaking havoc on Mother Earth.
Plastic takes at least 500 years to break down. The planet is rapidly being choked by a growing glut of polymer waste. Not only do plastic bags find their way into our forests, rivers and oceans, they are also ingested by animals, leading to the painful deaths of an estimated one million a year.
The No-Plastic Bag
Spurred on by his concern over India’s annual 15 million tons of plastic consumption, a young Indian man, Ashwath Hegde, funded a team of 10 researchers who spent about four years developing “edible plastic bags,” a viable replacement for the environmentally toxic plastic currently in use.
This Nature-friendly plastic is made out of tapioca and vegetable starches and vegetable-oil derivatives. No artificial chemicals are used, and the bags have been certified plastic-free. They decompose naturally in 60 to 180 days. They will dissolve within a day if placed in water at room temperature, and in only 15 seconds when submerged in hot water. When burned, they produce no smoke or toxic gases. And while not designed to be eaten, they cause no harm if ingested by either people or animals.
Ashwath Hegde, named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, has established a plant in Bengaluru which can produce 1,000 tons of biodegradable bags in a month. His company, EnviGreen, has also started supplying these bags to retail shops. The future is further brightened by the fact that many companies are developing similar green alternatives, and the cost of bioplastics is falling to that of conventional plastics.
The no-plastic bag is at the forefront of modern environmental consciousness. A seemingly small gesture such as swapping toxic plastic for biodegradable bags is actually a huge step in stemming the tide of planetary destruction. Daily acts of love yield big results. Our Earth is worth it.