Will Single Use Products Lead to Sustainability?

Will Single Use Products Lead to Sustainability?

Saritha Vara (Department of Environmental Studies, GITAM Institute of Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, India), Manoj Kumar Karnena (Department of Environmental Studies, GITAM Institute of Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, India), Bhavya Kavitha Dwarapureddi (Department of Environmental Studies, GITAM Institute of Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, India) and Bhavannarayana Chintalapudi (Department of Civil Engineering, KIET Engineering College, Kakinada, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2019040104
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There has been intensification regarding environmental consciousness in recent decades with increased attention on generated waste. This might not be one of the most imperative of problems but surely is the one that is most instantaneously manageable. An individual may not be directly influenced by global climate change, the destruction of the rain forests, disasters like Chernobyl and Bhopal; nevertheless, the constant disposal of garbage is happening endlessly, immediate to us and is definitely under our control. One of the prime reasons for the tremendous increase in solid waste is disposable products, that are readily availability and disposed after a single use. Use of disposable products in all areas from food packing, product packing, hospitals, etc., continues to increase despite limited landfill space and dwindling natural resources. This has led to the term “throw-away society.” In the present article, the authors focus on such products which are growing in the market and highlight the environmental effects once they are discarded. In this context, their efforts are to make significant contributions that could be applied to the support of designing and environmental labeling disposable products. This is in an effort to promote production and consumption of product options which can be characterized for lowering environmental impacts.
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Over the period of time consumption of goods has become core to the society. Prosperity of modern society has been dependent on production and sale of various products and services. Growth in production has inflated purchases which resulted towards finer progression and successful civilization (Princen, 2002). Consumption, while being an essential component for economy could as well harm to environment in a hazardous way. Furthermore, impact on environment is an obvious argument arising from the uncontrollable use of single use products or disposables, particularly due to those that are non-recyclable. Waste has now become a global problem, the one which needs to be addressed in order to solve the world's resource and energy challenges (Bartelmus, 2002).

Knowledge regarding balance between sustainable consumption and production was present during the beginning of the new century. As pointed out by Throne et al., 2007 (Trone-Holst et al., 2007) that the process of transformation towards sustainability needs precise understanding of the consumption. According to Verhulst et al. (2007) in depth focus on human aspects creating knowledge is required for more sustainable development. This kind of approach is believed as a need for creating sustainable innovations and also implementing sustainable strategies more effectively. Regardless, overall depiction of sustainability of industrial production has become worse, mainly because of enhanced production and consumption volumes. Numerous researchers highlighted the significant role of human aspects involved in change towards better sustainable societies. To achieve this, an understanding of the individual, consumption and consumer behavior is required (Manzini, 1994).

According to 2010 figures of EPA (European Union, 2010), textile and paper are considered as “non-durable goods” in municipal solid waste. These wastes constitute for 21.3% in garbage from their sample of 250 million tons. Non-durable plastic goods alone constitute 6.4 million tons. Ever increasing attentiveness in disposable technologies resulted in rising alarm regarding waste generated out of their use. These eventually have received attention of authors who have tried assessing impact of disposables at facility level early during the development and application of disposables (Sinclair et al., 2004).

Claiming that single-use products result in lesser environmental footprint over conventional multiuse facility might look contradictory. Impacts on environment occurs from almost all kind of products and/or services arising from various stages including raw material extraction, production or manufacturing process, distribution, use of the product and its disposal. Energy and resources like soil, air and water are used in this process which eventually end up polluting the same resources and are also cause of about 5% of greenhouse gas emissions (European Union, 2010). All these effects cumulatively has held to un-sustainability. This review thus focuses on enhanced consumption of single use / disposal products and sustainability.

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