Reduce the plastic footprint of SNIST college: Use of biodegradable cups in the canteen

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The world’s leading climate scientists have issued an 11-year ultimatum at a UN conference on climate change. We have 11 years to prevent irreversible damage that could be done to the planet. We have 11 years before the civilization, as we know it now, comes to an end if we do nothing.

How plastic causes pollution and climate change

Plastic waste makes up between 60% and 80% of marine debris and is “one of the world’s most pervasive pollution problems impacting our oceans and waterways,” according to the U.N. Plastic is a petroleum-based material and when burned it’s like any other fossil fuel: it releases greenhouse gases. This, in turn, leads to rising sea levels, increased ocean and air toxicity, and destruction of coral reefs and other marine life.  

Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. We have been told that plastic is recyclable. But, how much of it is actually recycled? The answer might surprise you. According to an article published by National Geographic, only about 9% of the plastic waste is recycled every year and the rest 91% is either being burnt or ends up in the oceans, causing serious damage to the climate.

Even though the most obvious alternative to using plastic products, would be to use paper products, they are not as eco-friendly as they seem. Millions of trees are cut down every year to supply for the growing demand for paper products. They also take up to 30 years to decay. Conventional paper products have waterproof linings, made of petroleum and cannot break down in a landfill.

How SNIST can use biodegradable cups and contribute to control of climate

Change begins with the littlest of things. We can start by reducing our daily usage of plastic, thereby reducing our contribution to plastic waste. Our college, Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology, Ghatkesar, Hyderabad; is currently using plastic cups and paper plates in the canteen and paper cups in the cafeteria.

Products made with biodegradable materials, break down easily and many can be composted. Biodegradable products still have waterproof linings, but they are made of bioplastics derived from corn, sugarcane or potatoes. These linings, made from renewable resources, can break down into compost that can enrich the soil.

I want us, as a society, to act on climate change. We have 11 years to ensure our generation and the generations after us, have a sustainable future. We have to act before anything we do stops making a difference. One might be inclined to think how big of a difference can the use of biodegradable products really make, but, every little thought and every penny spent in favor of controlling the damage will take us a step further in this journey of controlling the earth’s climate. So, I request you to sign this petition, to urge the management of our college to reduce the plastic footprint, by using biodegradable products in the canteen.