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Plastic-Related Threats and Need for Replacement Essay


Currently, there are a lot of implications associated with the use of various materials that are considered either to be dangerous to humans or unrecyclable. Plastic is one example of such materials. The major negative aspect of plastic is that it is used daily without people even being conscious of the implications. This is why it is important to address this issue as soon as possible and come up with a strategy regarding the use of plastic bags, bottles, and other products that can be made out of alternative eco-friendly materials.

It is important to be aware that plastics include many various types of synthetic chemical compounds that are utilized in a variety of industries. With such widespread use, it might be reasonable to assume that one ‘cannot live’ without products made out of plastic. However, the global community has to decide whether it can partially replace plastics with some other materials or, indeed, get rid of plastics altogether. This essay aims to illustrate both the advantages and disadvantages of plastic and to educate the readers in terms of its characteristics.

As an example of a common plastic commodity, I am going to use plastic water bottles. As the production of water bottles can be rather expensive and time-intensive, their impact on the environment will be discussed in detail (Fernqvist, Olsson, & Spendrup, 2015). I believe that there is an opportunity to replace plastic materials with biodegradable alternatives that will be healthier, and more efficient, in terms of both the economic and healthcare impact on the community.

The fact that plastic materials are rather useful in many different areas cannot, however, be overlooked. Durable and lightweight packaging, in association with low-cost production, became possible solely through the use of plastic materials. Plastic does not require the use of expensive materials, like wood or various metals, and the production process is much simpler. A simpler process of production, and the reduction of process costs, results in cheaper products, which are easier to mass-produce. This kind of economic advantage is a crucial aspect of the modern business world. Even in the UAE, businesses are looking for materials that will allow them to implement mass production while spending less money. Plastics also have the advantage of providing durable packaging.

On the other hand, it may be worth noting that there is a rather critical limitation associated with the use of plastic materials. The negative impact of plastic on the environment was not properly researched during the initial ‘plastic boom’, and it only became the focus of the conversation on plastics after the majority of industries turned to utilize plastic in their products (Luijsterburg & Goossens, 2014). Plastic products are not directly harmful to humans, which arguably prevents people from having an active interest in the negative aspects of plastics.

The potential impact of plastics on the environment is threatening to become unmanageable over the coming years. Plastics are often non-biodegradable, meaning that they do not rot or become other biological materials after they are disposed of. On average, a typical citizen of the UAE recycles only one-fifth of the bottles they buy (Silvenius et al., 2014). It has been calculated that more than 150,000 houses could be powered off the energy that is annually spent on the production of non-recyclable water containers. Plastic bottles, electronics packaging, and old appliances often get put into landfills where they remain indefinitely (Silvenius et al., 2014).

On a larger scale, one can only imagine what is going to happen if plastic materials continue to be thrown away. Within the framework of the discussion regarding this aspect of plastic materials, it should be noted that there is no guarantee that businesses will not use plastic materials in the future. As plastic alternatives can be more expensive and not so durable as their chemically manufactured counterparts, businesses may still choose to use plastic. That some plastics can be recycled, but not completely, only exacerbates the issue.

Expanding on the topic of plastic materials and their influence on the infrastructure of the UAE, I would argue that plastics can be recycled, but not completely, and so has a severe impact on the environment that should be evaluated in detail to gain more insight into the core aspects of the issue. In the very worst cases, plastic garbage is illegally dumped into nature preserves, lakes, rivers, and oceans (Rigamonti et al., 2014). It negatively affects animals and puts their habitats at risk.

The effect of plastic on the environment is severe, and if this trend continues, this kind of negative impact will spread throughout society. Accordingly, this may lead to a decrease in the quality of air and the animal population. At the end of the day, humanity has to stop the prevalence of plastics; plastics can only be associated with monetary profits (Luijsterburg & Goossens, 2014). If the UAE is interested in sustaining the current levels of health among its citizens, the government has to take strict measures against the use of plastic materials and their disposal. The industry should not be afraid to replace this hazardous material with several eco-friendly alternatives because plastics have an extremely negative effect on the environment.

Conclusion

Despite the positive aspects of plastics, alternative solutions to the production of packaging have to be considered. First of all, the UAE could try to replace plastic bottles with glass counterparts. The rationale for this decision is that glass is a reusable material that does not contain any hazardous chemical compounds that can harm humans. Another idea that can be implemented in the UAE is the promotion of the use of reusable shopping bags.

They are slightly more expensive than traditional plastic bags, but everyone will be able to reuse them as many times as needed. The rationale for this is that the UAE can manufacture shopping bags that are made of leather, canvas, or cotton. The last proposition is to make the best use of starch-based polymers. This material is relatively similar to plastic, but it is completely degradable and relates to the segment of low-cost production supplies.

If the UAE decides to use starch-based polymers, plastic bottles made of this material will undergo total decomposition. My position is based on the severity of the negative aspects of plastic bottles, and that by bringing additional attention to them, people will be more motivated to seek out alternatives to plastics. To my mind, modern society has the opportunity to come up with several alternatives that will safeguard the citizens of the UAE and the natural environment of the country. This paper provides the reader with a clear rationale regarding the reasons why plastic materials should be eradicated from all production lines. It is safe to say that there are ways of substituting plastic containers (such as bottles) in daily life and that they need to be substituted if humanity wants to avoid further serious damage to the environment.

References

Fernqvist, F., Olsson, A., & Spendrup, S. (2015). What’s in it for me? Food packaging and consumer responses, a focus group study. British Food Journal, 117(3), 1122-1135.

Luijsterburg, B., & Goossens, H. (2014). Assessment of plastic packaging waste: Material origin, methods, properties. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 85, 88-97.

Rigamonti, L., Grosso, M., Moller, J., Sanchez, V. M., Magnani, S., & Christensen, T. H. (2014). Environmental evaluation of plastic waste management scenarios. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 85, 42-53.

Silvenius, F., Gronman, K., Katajajuuri, J. M., Soukka, R., Koivupuro, H. K., & Virtanen, Y. (2014). The role of household food waste in comparing environmental impacts of packaging alternatives. Packaging Technology and Science, 27(4), 277-292.

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IvyPanda. (2020, November 6). Plastic-Related Threats and Need for Replacement. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/plastic-related-threats-and-need-for-replacement/

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"Plastic-Related Threats and Need for Replacement." IvyPanda, 6 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/plastic-related-threats-and-need-for-replacement/.

1. IvyPanda. "Plastic-Related Threats and Need for Replacement." November 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/plastic-related-threats-and-need-for-replacement/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Plastic-Related Threats and Need for Replacement." November 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/plastic-related-threats-and-need-for-replacement/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Plastic-Related Threats and Need for Replacement'. 6 November.

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