Unexalted Gods of Waste
Because you never had the taste of it !
What does Dilbaag, Cigarette Butts, Lays and Coke have in common ?
- All of these consumer products contribute a lot to visible plastic waste.
- None of these products involved plastic some 20–30 years ago.
Mouth freshners were offered within the enclosure made by leaves of pan.
Hence, Rajnigandha and Pan Paraag is not only a critical fall from the usual taste. But is an open flirtation with environment.
This might seem to an urban Indian as insignificant mental exercise, but simple calculations using sales figures of Rajinigandha would yield →
DS group sells 200 crore Pulse candies annually.
Assuming that each wrapper weighs around 100 mg.
Assuming that 50% of such wrappers are not recycled or cannot be recycled because they are just too small to be picked.
This creates 100 crore x 100 mg of annual waste from Pulse Candies.
This accounts to 10⁹ x 0.1 g = 100 tons of Pulse waste.
100 tons from Pulse ! and Pulse is just a beginner. Imagine Center Fresh, Rajnigandha, Vimal Pan Masala (with Kesar), DilBaag, Nevla, Pan Parag, Pan Bahaar, Baba Elaichi, HappyDent, Center Fruit, Fruit Jelly, Eclairs !
Even if we take 100 such small wrapper level products.
Our 100 tons would easily climb upto 10⁴ tons per year.
Not kewl baby!!.
Similar calculations could be made for cigarette butts, which are made of plastic (cellulose acetate), whose degradation is painstakingly slow.
The plastic covers and straws that the McDonalds ( Oh! I am loving it) gives, along with those sauce packets. Would never ever, get recycled.
Because picking and segregating them involves cost, and is practically not feasible.
These sauce and pickle packets might look to us as sincere value addition. But if we contemplate harder we would realize that the convenience is of the company more than the customer.
The customer thinks of a small packet as a convenience — because of its durability, portability and so on.
The company thinks of a small packet as a model — more visibility, hence more marketing, easier packaging, transportation, distribution, easier accounting and hence more profits.
In dehat, the wild lands of Western UP — Whiskey is often packed in small polythene bags, because the poor cannot afford the whole in glass bottles.
Imperial Blue in White plastic bags. The distributors have already hit a jackpot, larger volumes with smaller bags.
The human effort against waste has been either about calls for self-restraint or calls for activism against companies and governments. But none of them do witness the pervasiveness the problem of plastic waste.
As the scheme of things are and situation we are in, pessimism is the second- least required trait, second only to complete unawareness of the situation.
Plastic waste is not a single monolith and the most un-recyclable sort is that small candy packet. Watch that small packet.
For that small packet continues the saga of blind consumerism and creates the endless sea of plastic waste.
And stay awesome.