Especially in recent times we have through various media been made aware of the plastic pollution situation worldwide. We now explore the various worldwide trends that have developed to resolve and improve the negative impacts man has created on the environment.
As quoted by Tanya Steele (WWF’s chief executive in Britain)”We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it”
Reference: World Economic Forum
The increase in urbanisation results in the ever increasing pressure in many countries to develop and improve waste management. The recycling industry in Africa is mainly based on informal methods and is economically driven.
Coca-Cola’s packaging vision called a World Without Waste is a new approach to packaging with the ultimate aim to help collect and recycle all their packaging by 2030. In South Africa, Coca-Cola funded and co developed PETCO who promotes and recycles PET material after use. PETCO also assists to create new products from disposed PET material. The increase in recycling rate has created jobs and income opportunities plus saved landfill space. The amount of recycled PET in South Africa has increased from 14% in 2005 to 65% in 2017 (2.15 billion PET plastic bottles).
In 2008 Rwanda decided to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags. The authorities have used this policy to boost the local economy by providing tax incentives to plastic bag manufacturers to start recycling plastic bags instead. Kenya has followed a similar route with banning the use of plastic bags. In Kenya anyone manufacturing or using plastic bags can result in a jail sentence.
Due to the high level of plastic pollution from Styrofoam containers in Zimbabwe, the Environment Management Agency (EMA) has banned food containers made from Styrofoam. A lot of rubbish gets burnt and with Styrofoam toxic chemicals are released when incinerated which then contributes to air pollution.
An Ocean Plastic Charter was agreed by five of the G7 nations (excluding US and Japan). “The charter outlines a “resource-efficient lifecycle management approach to plastics in the economy,” which includes working towards making all plastics recyclable by 2030, reducing single-use plastics and promoting the use of recycled plastic” (reference Irene Banos Ruiz www.dw.com).
However environmental groups are requesting stronger plans to be implemented where legal binding rules are applied. Only three of the G7 nations have national regulations in place to reduce/restrict plastic pollution, France is currently in the lead with a strict ban on the usage of non-biodegradable plastic bags, single-use cups, cutlery and plates by 2020.
Since the banning of plastic bags in 2011 the plastic bag consumption in Italy has been reduced by 55%.
Recently the European Parliament voted for an extensive ban on single-use plastics. The plan is to eliminate single-use plastic items and replace with available alternatives.
The high consumption of plastic straws especially in America (500 million plastic straws per day) has received a lot of press coverage. Every American uses on average 38 000 plastic straws in a lifetime. Due to the negative impact of plastic straws on the environment alternatives have been developed. In July 2018 Seattle in solidarity with the Lonely Whale Foundation announced a total ban on single-use plastic straws in support of the “Strawless in Seattle “campaign. This campaign was launched in September 2017 and within one month 2.3 million plastic straws were removed from restaurants, businesses, etc.
Other US coastal cities like Malibu in California and Miami Beach in Florida are supporting similar bans on single- use plastic items. By 2020 Starbucks plans to globally remove the use of plastic straws from its stores (more than 1 billion straws per year).
On the 30th May this year Chile was the first South American country to announce a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags. This ban will apply in one year’s time to major retailers and in two years’ time for smaller businesses.
Latin America and the Caribbean are home to the Amazon Basin and the Patagonian Highlands which are both regions rich in biodiversity. Authorities representing these regions have implemented major pollution restricting policies to protect the environment. Antigua and Barbuda have banned plastic bags since 2016. Colombia followed in 2017 by applying a tax on plastic bags, the taxed amount increases by every year. From 21 August 2018 on the
remote Galapagos Islands no more plastic straws, bags or bottles are to be used or sold in an attempt to make the islands plastic free.
In June 2018 Rio de Janeiro declared war against plastic straws and implemented heavy fines on establishments not complying with the new rules. In Argentina the sale of plastic bags was banned five years ago and now recently there are restrictions on the sale of plastic straws and cups.
More than 50 countries have signed up for the #CleanSeas campaign of which 16 are from the Latin American and Caribbean region.
China is seen as the biggest producer of plastic waste but has recently started to implement certain policies to restrict plastic pollution. In the past China has allowed tons of recyclable waste to be imported from other overseas countries but has now stopped accepting foreign waste. On the domestic front China had to deal with the ever increasing recycling burden and authorities have ordered 46 cities to implement waste management programs in order to reach a target of 35% recycling rate in 2020.
By 2022 India intends to ban all single-use plastics. The Indian Government launched the Namami Gange project in an effort to clean up the Ganges River.
Prime Minister Theresa May this year proposed a plan for a cleaner Britain by 2042. The first supermarket in London with plastic free zones has just opened. Thornton Budgens in Belsize Park has converted more than 1700 product lines to non-plastic packaging with the aim to have the store virtually plastic free in three years’ time.
In England 15 billion plastic bags have been taken out of circulation due to the 5p surcharge per bag. Fast food companies like Starbucks and McDonalds announced intentions of banning plastic straws in their outlets. Major manufacturers and retailers in the UK have committed to eliminate plastic packaging from the supply chain. The aim is to achieve 100% of plastic packaging to be either reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
In conclusion countries worldwide are aware of the plastic pollution situation and its impact on the environment and have implemented policies to curb further pollution. Making a difference can also happen on a smaller scale by starting to recycle items in your home.
At Multi-cup Solutions, we are well aware of the global trends and as a well-established food and beverage packaging supplier in the South African market, have made a contribution to preserving the environment by adding a new range of environmentally friendly products to our extensive product list. As an alternative to the mainstream packaging Multi-cup Solutions offers a selection of PLA clear cups with lids, paper cups with PLA sip lids and bagasse meal boxes. Multi-cup Solutions noted the high demand for paper straws in the
market place and has added white and black wrapped paper straws in different sizes to the stock range. Coloured or printed straws are available on request.
For more information on our full range of recyclable and enviro friendly food and beverage packaging contact us on 011 058 4200.