While almost every plastic ever produced still exists, only about five percent of it is recycled effectively. Over decades of interaction with this ‘wonder material’, we have become accustomed to its usage; it is strenuous to identify commodities that do not use the polymer in one way or the other, and the sad part is that we often turn a blind eye or are just simply unable to even identify. It happens with everyone, and has of course happened with me too. It took me years to understand and register that glitter – light-catching shiny particles that always fascinated me, made my eyes sparkle with wonder, and brought the biggest grin on my face – are toxic microbeads that cause environmental harm in much more ways than the younger me could have ever imagined.
Similarly, the bubble gum we enjoy chewing all day long and our much loved tea bags that have made life convenient, both, use up polyethylene; furthermore, sea salt is often contaminated with microplastics, and paper cups that we tend to believe are eco-friendly actually require a plastic lining to prevent leakage of the liquid.
In a nutshell, while the need of taking action remains, the responsibility to educate ourselves all throughout the process rests with us too. As said, it is never too late to learn. Be curious to find out about what it is you use, be cautious of when and how you use, and often remind yourself of where it eventually reaches after use.