8 - 14, 2010

How many disposable items did you use today?

Generally, we use an increasing number of disposables such as plastic razors, cups, paper towels, nappies, plastic bags, paper napkins, and even disposable batteries to name a few in our routine lives. Not only do they usually cost more in the end, they also involve the consumption of more resources and energy than their reusable alternatives.

Our world has become a disposable one. Mankind seems to have chosen convenience over the health of our earth. Using of disposable product has become a custom. Use it, throw it, it is all so easy. We ignore the consequences; therefore, we will regret it.

The majority of our waste can be and should be recycled. True, most of these disposable products do not fall in the recyclable category. From disposable cameras to facial cleansers, there seems to be a wasteful version of almost every product. Why is this? Do we really think we are saving money buying a new camera every time we take 24 pictures? For those who do not know, it is worth to know that a good digital image copier with a decent sized memory card can take several hundred pictures that are of much higher quality than their disposable substitutes, and they are cheaper above all.

A styrofoam cup takes more than 50 years to decompose then why does this crap exist? Some claim styrofoam cups are better for the environment because they consume less energy during their manufacturing. However, they all end up in a landfill after one stupid use.

Bottled water has become common nowadays. For some reason, it feels good for class conscious to drink from 600ml bottles of water while there are other sources of fresh water. The tap water filter is a better choice, you see. It turns my city water unfit for human consumption into something drinkable. Just replace a filter every two or three months and you will get clean water.

You have a right to defend that plastic water bottles are 100% recyclable. Surely, they are, but it requires plenty of energy to make them reusable, and more energy of course, to melt them down, and turn them into yet another bottle. Energy saving will be to have one permanent water bottle that you refill with filtered tap water.

Same wasteful is so fast food; a waste of animal's lives, a waste of teenagers' time, a waste of a healthy body, and just simply a waste of space. Fast food is also the mother of all disposable products. In 80% of the cases, fast food serving plastic tray ends up in the trash.

Although disposable products may seem like the handiest option, there are good reasons to avoid them whenever possible.

Oil is required to make more plastics, and due to its durability, plastics do not decompose well. Further, if burned plastics give off harmful emissions.

Buying a good quality, reusable alternative to disposable product will save you a lot of money in the long run. A good quality item will often last years, whereas the odd few pounds here and there spent on items, which are disposed after one use, will all add up.

Choosing a long-lasting rather than single use item will keep more waste out of landfill.

Even when goods can be recycled, as many plastics can be, the recycling process still uses energy and resources and often still produces some waste.

Millions of razors are sent to landfill every year. Although marketing campaigns may have us believe differently, there are alternatives to plastic, disposable razors.

For example, there is electric razor. Yes, it comes in a plastic casing usually, but these razors can last for years. The blades may need replacing but the metal for these can be recycled easily.

A report by Uniross found that rechargeable batteries had 32 times less impact on the environment than disposable ones. Ninety percent of nappies that are thrown away end up in landfill, and can take up to 100 years to decompose. More and more people are switching to reusable nappies to cut down on waste and to save money.

Stainless steel flasks and boxes last years long than their plastic substitutes. In fact, if not lost they will probably last forever.

Cloth hankies are fine for nose blowing and can even be made from old bed linen to avoid paying for them. Again, cloths are better for both wiping up spills and facial cleansing.

These are just a few ideas. The task of finding reusable alternatives is ongoing and it will take time for more green products to appear. In the meantime, if you do use any disposal products it is well worth investigating what the alternatives are.

Unfortunately, this type of disposable lifestyle is encouraging disposable mindset in our society. Now we are disposable. Why putting in effort to maintain a relationship, when you can easily meet someone new? Why bother calling someone to work through a problem when it is easier to call your friend to go out for fun? Broken glass, broken person... no difference. Why confront it? If someone has an annoying habit, why should we learn how to tolerate it? After all, we grew up in the exponential times, where people are used as tissue papers, use it, throw it, it is all so easy. We have become a lifeless sitcom character.