Published: 14th August 2019
Here's how handling your purchases carefully can help deal with plastic problems
Environmentalist Prashant Lingam is batting for us to cut down on our plastic wastage by repurposing it into usable materials
Most people while talking about plastics, say, 'Let's ban plastic'. But banning plastic is not the solution. For example, if you're eating food on a plastic plate, you wouldn't say 'ban plates'. It is the littering of plastic that becomes dangerous. My plastic journey has been only for three years and I've learnt that what's most important is to avoid littering and find some other sustainable form of usage.
We have built shelters completely made out of milk packets. It's a mix of LDP and MLP. Like this, there are various ways of recycling plastic. Let me give you a few tips to reduce plastic consumption: When you cut milk packets each morning, don't leave the tip separately. This separated tip alone costs several tonnes of garbage that simply cannot be recycled and will choke up landfills. If it stays with the milk packet, it's an entirely different thing. Second thing, don't buy these one rupee, two rupee shampoo sachets. It is extremely difficult for ragpickers to pick it up and so it adds to the pile of plastic in our landfills. Buy the larger ones. Another area of concern is our food packaging. Food delivery boxes are non-recyclable.
Before making every decision, please think about how you are contributing. Small actions go along way. It is very easy to blame the government, but change needs to start from us. We are the first people to be responsible. Today, we have such a huge traction for the kind of work we're doing. Even the UN has come forward to support us. In a nutshell, please recycle as much as you can. Please be particular about your purchases. We generate 7 lakh metric tons of plastic and 80 per cent of it is not being recycled. There is no way out. We are hitting a dead end. There is no future if we keep misusing plastic at this pace.
Prashant Lingam’s first social enterprise Bamboo House India utilises bamboo for building low-cost bamboo shelters. His second social enterprise Recycled India works on converting plastic waste into low-cost shelters and in the process, he makes furniture and so on with plastic waste. Lingam is credited with building the world's first recycled plastic house in Hyderabad and is also known as the Bamboo Man of the country. He was speaking at TNIE's 40 under 40 Eco Conclave in Hyderabad.