Plastic is a product made to last forever but unfortunatelydesigned to thrown away. For raw materials of plastic manufacturers spend billions on excavating fossil fuel which is alimited resource by polluting air and you toss them back to earth after 10 -15minutes of use taking another 1000 years to biodegrade. With the increase ofdomestic consumption of plastic China banned import of low grade used plasticin effect from January 2018.
This decision has a large impact on EU been thelargest exporter of used plastic adding up to three million tons per annum andwith this stern decision of China there will be an increase of plastic pileyards around the EU region. The ban alsoeffects the plastic strategy of EU the “circular economy” which is in practiceof minimizing the cost through the entire production cycle. Plastic being a light weight, durable and low cost product ispopular among consumers & producers and getting rid of it in the short runwill not be easy for the EU. The main objective of the EU should be to keepunwanted plastic inputs out of the environment to uphold their own plasticstrategies.
In 2014, EU incinerate 39%, 31% been landfilled and the rest of the30% of used plastic was recycled. Short termrecommendations for the EU,1. Increase the rate of recycling with separatecollection of waste strategy, thereby increasing the quality of the recyclingprocess.2.
Encourage reusing and plastic shouldn’t be seenas waste.3. Come up with prevention and reduction of singleuse plastic items either by levying or banning. 4.
PET plastic bottles can be easily converted intoflakes and can be used as raw material to produce the same PET bottle withoutharming its standards. Pepsi and Nestle are two companies which practice thismechanism currently. Through an effective deposit system with financialincentives to deposit the used plastic at established centers which can easilyconvert PET products.These solutions will temporarilyreduce the piling of plastics and these used plastics can be utilized for greatergood for humans rather polluting the environment by incinerating or fillinglands. Lon term recommendations,1.
Standardization Through standardizing it becomes a norm and a guideline to follow in theplastic market. Thereby the EU can promote innovations in products and processdesigning ultimately achieving zero waste targets within the region. 2. Bioplastic Bioplasticis produce using organic wastage and special crops which is 100% eco-friendly(if they are found on oceans bioplastic will be equal to fish food) andsubstitutes the use of plastic. This conserves fossil fuel but eventually willrise competition among food crops.
Therefore intensive research in this field will help us to get rid ofplastic in the long run and this will give a proper solution for used plasticrather producing them in EU and dumping it in China and buying back its by-productsfrom China just growing its network of plastic and not eradicating it.