Can plastic use be completely replaced by biodegradable alternatives?
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In this highly industrialized world, plastic has become a basic ingredient for most of the products. Even those which don't need plastic as core product, need plastic for packaging. There are many variants of plastic contributing to its innumerable uses in the modern manufacture sector. Plastic has succeeded to maintain its sheer dominance in the industrial sector because of it's outstanding qualities like: cheapness, durability, reliability, versatility, lightweight and so on.
Therefore, complete replacement of plastic by alternatives seems to be a very ambitious goal. It requires a breakthrough in technological development, that provides a eco-friendly alternative to plastic while still being highly versatile, cheap, durable and reliable, in order to replace the plastic. However, although this possibility is open, it might take years before it might actually take a shape.
We are so ingrained with the use of plastic that we cannot name an object that does not involve plastic use without thinking it twice. Replacing plastic use by means of alternatives means, redesigning all those products, processes and so on, that now use plastic. It is clearly a very cumbersome and time-taking process. We need to await for years, even if we manage to find a reliable alternative for plastic.
Having a biodegradable alternative is not enough. Sometimes, people are reluctant to use such alternatives even when they are available. For eg: environmentally friendly bags, such as that of jute and other natural fibres, are available. But more often than not, people seem to be using the same plastic bags, either because they forget to carry such bags, or because they are not conscious enough. Awareness can be raised and initiatives can be taken in this direction, however, to increase the use of environmental friendly bags.
If we do so, we can replace plastic to a great extent with bio-degradable alternatives. We can use paper packaging in place of the plastic packaging. We can use wood and metals wherever possible in the manufacture of different products. We can reduce our consumption so that we minimize the use of plastic. However, none of these activities can satisfactorily/successfully eradicate our reliance on plastic.
Unless a promising alternative is discovered, plastic use cannot be completely replaced, although with conscious consumers and business organizations, it's uses can be reduced. Also, it could be reused and recycled for reduced impact on our environment.