First, I am not rabidly anti-plastic. I think that plastic has made many parts of our life better, but I am against plastic waste (plastic for which there is no after market recycling program) and I am against over packaging, and your industry is implicated in both.
From an energy perspective, I am aware that lightweight plastic packaging is cheaper to transport than many other materials. From an energy perspective, the problem is that plastics consume oil products that could be used to heat homes, to fuel automobiles, etc. If you cannot reuse a plastic product that is recycled, it means that you will be consuming new oil for every product you produce.
From a waste perspective, you need look no further than the Eastern Pacific to see a Texas sized “island” of plastic waste that will last for tens of thousands of years. If your industry does not come to grips with this problem, we will be doing it for you by banning the use of plastic products. This is not in your best interests and it isn’t good for consumers either. Get your act together and:
1. Make certain that every type of plastic is well-marked for recycling and don’t allow unmarked plastics into the market place.
2. Help local governments fund plastic recycling programs
3. Help create markets for recycled plastic and ways to use them that is environmentally friendly and energy-efficient
4. Don’t produce anything that you cannot re-use in manufacturing and set targets and deadlines for recycling 80% of the product you produce.
5. Ensure that products that contain recycled plastic are marked, advertising that they have helped keep plastic out of landfills.
6. Talk to the packaging industry and retail stores to get them to reduce “over packaging” and to ensure that all packaging can be easily separated into non-plastic and plastic products and that the individual plastic components are all marked for recycling
7. Fund “bring it back collection sites” for large plastic components that it is not possible for the recycling programs to handle.
Many of the same recommendations should be addressed to municipal and provincial governments to ensure that if industry doesn’t step up to the plate that the regulators do, so if you don’t want to get regulated out of business, I suggest you consider cleaning up your act.
- TED: Mike Biddle: We can recycle plastic – Mike Biddle (2011) (ted.com)
- Utilization of waste plastics recycling is less than 10% (ledlightbar888.wordpress.com)
- DIY plastic recycling machine will revolutionize waste management (recyclereminders.com)
- Life in the old and new plastics how to identify (ledlights2013.wordpress.com)
- PET plastic recycling into a new growth point of interest (ledstriplights888.wordpress.com)
- Harvesting waste plastic for 3D printers to reduce poverty: Plastic Bank (treehugger.com)