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Should the plastics industry be educating consumers about waste?

July 13th, 2017

Steve Toloken in Plastics News asked “Should the plastics industry pay for advertising or education to get consumers to use fewer plastic bags?”   However, despite the drink-aware campaigns – we still have a problem with binge drinkers and alcoholism, and cigarette smoking only decreased substantially when there was a change in the law, restricting the places where smokers could light up.

This suggests that although we should try to educate people to dispose of their plastic waste responsibly, it is governments who have the power to make a difference.

We are all aware of the huge problem caused by plastic waste in the environment, but governments in Europe and the USA have ducked their responsibilities for years,  even though they know that plastic could be made with a new technology which makes it safely degrade and then biodegrade if it gets into the open environment.

They have failed to legislate to force manufacturers and supermarkets to make their carrier bags and short life plastic packaging with oxo-biodegradable plastic technology.  Not so in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, where legislation is already in place.

Oxo-biodegradable technology causes plastic waste to convert automatically into biodegradable materials in the open environment, on land or sea, in a similar way to nature’s wastes.  If collected it can be recycled with conventional plastic, but if it escapes collection and ends up in the open environment, it will degrade and biodegrade until there is nothing left.  No toxic residues and no fragments of plastic.

Better still, it can be made in existing plastic factories with existing work-force and machinery at little or no extra cost, which means that it can be implemented right now.

Despite the scientific proof, politicians continue to dither and there is endless talk about recycling,  meanwhile thousands of tons of regular plastic waste gets into the environment every day, where it will lie or float around for decades.

Perhaps a better question is –  Why, given that our environment is fast approaching a crisis caused by plastic waste, are legislators in Europe and the US, dragging their feet, and not making oxo-biodegradable plastic mandatory?

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