Published: 02nd January 2019
Tamil Nadu plastic ban: Here's what you can and cannot use anymore
The switch to a eco-friendly way of life won't be a hassle because all the alternatives are not only better than plastic but easily available as well
This new year Tamil Nadu joined 25 Indian states where the use of plastic has been banned. Here are some alternatives that will help you smoothly sail through a plastic-free life.
Plastic bag VS Cloth bag
Plastic bag: Any plastic carry bag that is meant for the purpose of dispensing or carrying goods that have 'self-carrying feature' is banned
Use of plastic carry bags, irrespective of how many microns thick they are, is now banned.
But if the plastic is being used to seal the product like shirts packed in plastic covers or frozen food packed in plastic, then it is exempted from the ban.
Plastic bags and other plastic garbage that is thrown into the ocean kill as many as one million sea creatures every year.
Plastic bags take 500-1000 years to degrade.
Cloth bag: You can use cloth, paper or jute bags as alternatives to plastic bags but cloth is the cheapest and last almost as long as the jute ones
Cloth bag can be one of the major replacements for plastic bags.
They might seem expensive if you have to buy one for Rs 20 every time you go shopping but since these can be reused it's a smart buy that will last you at least a year.
Cloth bags are not just reusable and environment-friendly, they are now a style statement as well.
Cloth takes 3-4 months to degrade.
Plastic Straw VS Paper Straw
Plastic Straw: Any plastic straw irrespective of their thickness cannot be used anymore. Plastic straws fall under the "use and throwaway plastic" category, now banned by the State Government
Plastic straws cannot be used anymore by customers or shopkeepers in Tamil Nadu, irrespective of the thickness.
With that being said, plastic straws take up to 200 years to degrade, but will never be fully off the Earth, as plastics are not biodegradable.
It is estimated that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world's beaches every year.
In the United States of America alone, about 500 million straws are used on a daily basis, which is enough number of straws to circle around the earth 2.5 times.
Paper straw: You can use paper straws as alternatives to plastic straws as they are easily biodegradable and does not pollute the environment as plastic would
Paper straws are excellent as an alternative to its plastic counterpart. They are great for at home, office, parties, on-the-go drinks and for all your beverage consumption. They are biodegradable and compostable.
Apart from paper straws, bamboo straws are also sustainable, reusable and biodegradable.
In most cases with normal use, paper straws will take 2-3 hours to decompose after it has been used to full capacity.
Plastic sheet VS eco-friendly sheet
Plastic sheet: Plastic sheets that are put on plates in order to serve food to customers can no longer be used from January 1, 2019, in the state
Sheets made of plastic have been banned as they are said to be causing serious environmental hazards and health problems amongst human beings as well as plants and animals.
Plastic sheets are used to separate areas or volumes, to hold items, to act as barriers, or as printable surfaces.
Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills.
Banana leaf: Using a banana leaf instead of plastic sheets to serve food can be extremely ecological
Banana leaves have a wide range of applications because they are large, flexible, waterproof and decorative. They are used for cooking, wrapping and food-serving in a wide range of cuisines in tropical and subtropical areas. It is also believed that the leaf has anti-bacterial properties that kill all the germs in the food, thereby reducing the chances of you falling sick.
Plastic bottles VS Steel bottles
Plastic bottles: Plastic water bottles are not only non-biodegradable, but some also claim that they are toxic to drink out of for a long time
Even though plastic bottles are not banned as per the directive from the Principal Secretary, Md Nasimuddin, it will be a responsible move to step away from these.
While water pouches have been banned the directive does not put a ban on plastic bottles. Most of the water and fizzy drink bottles are recyclable.
80 per cent of the plastic water bottles we buy ends up in landfills.
Plastic bottles can take a thousand years to degrade.
Steel/glass bottles: Steel flasks can a not only help you save water but work as thermos as well
Steel water container and glass bottles last more than plastic bottles.
Even though they take a long time to decompose they are not as toxic as opposed to the plastic that pollutes the ground.
The steel and glass bottles hygienic compared to the plastic bottles.
A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as little as 30 days.