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What will happen to all the worlds wasted plastic?


Barely a day goes by without a new anti-plastic initiative, for example the Dutch supermarket creating a plastic free aisle, the Bali inhabitants sweeping the island for jetsam, the moves to get plastic out of teabags and even out of Lego. The questions that are asked globally are should we aim to move beyond plastics altogether? And what are the alternatives to a material that has dominated packaging for 70 years? Promising new technologies are vying for attention, but plastic is so omnipresent and so useful that it will not simply disappear. 

Rob Opsomer, systemic initiatives lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation believes that 50% of plastic packaging’s could be recycled if they, or after-use systems, were better designed, and 20% could be tackled by reuse schemes. However about 30% of plastics need a fundamental rethink to prevent them ending up in landfill. 

Packaging made from seaweed promises another alternative to sachets and wrappers. Jakarta-based Evoware say both food-grade and packaging-grade products are available, with the focus on use in the food and drink, beauty, jewellery and electronic industries. One use, they note, is to package seasonings for instant noodles, with the sachets breaking down in hot water. Also with coffee cups to drinks packaging and juice cartons, solutions are multiplying. A host of companies have taken-off, selling reusable alternatives to single-use coffee cups, and many cafes now offer discounts for their use. Tesco, which has set its target at 2025, has reduced the amount of plastic in some of its packaging including meat trays. Plastic water bottles possibly the height of single use plastic waste, have already been replaced in venues, including London Zoo which now uses recyclable aluminium cans. 

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Source: The guardian March 2nd 2018

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