The concept and practice of plastic pollution control in China jointly released by the Institute of economic system and management of the Chinese Academy of macroeconomics and the Institute of quantitative and technological economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in April this year pointed out that after years of efforts, China has built a relatively perfect waste plastic recycling system, and the production capacity and output of waste plastic recycling and recycling rank first in the world.
What does this mean for China and even the world's ecological environment protection and green energy conservation? On June 13, the opening day of the 2022 national energy conservation publicity week, the reporter of China Development and reform newspaper interviewed Wang Yonggang, Secretary General of the recycled plastics branch of the China Materials Recycling Association
Become the world's second largest focus on environmental issues
In the past, when shopping in supermarkets and markets, it was once a daily habit for many people to pull a plastic bag and put fruits and vegetables on it. In addition, in recent years, with the rise of online shopping and takeaway industries, various and colorful plastic bags, lunch boxes, express packaging, etc., have brought great pressure to the ecological environment.
According to the report released by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2021, the world produced about 9.2 billion tons of plastic in total from 1950 to 2017. The report predicts that by 2050, the cumulative global plastic production will increase to 34 billion tons, and the annual plastic waste production will be about 300 million tons. Plastic pollution has become the second largest environmental focus issue in the world after climate change, which brings great challenges to global sustainable development.
"From the perspective of materials, plastics cannot be equated with pollutants. The essence of plastic pollution is environmental leakage caused by improper management of plastic waste. Once plastic is leaked into the natural environment such as soil and water, it will be difficult to degrade, causing visual pollution, soil pollution, water pollution, etc. improper disposal will also affect greenhouse gas emissions and bring lasting harm to the fragile ecological environment. Micro plastics enter the food chain It may also cause serious harm to human health. " Wang Yonggang said.
"Plastic is an indispensable material in human production and life. It is neither scientific nor realistic to remove plastic from our production and life." Wang Yonggang believes that in the face of potential plastic pollution risks, we must strengthen the recycling and utilization of plastic waste and develop a plastic circular economy.
Implement the full life cycle treatment of plastic pollution
Contribute "Chinese wisdom"
Facing the increasingly serious problem of plastic pollution, China continues to strengthen the recycling and utilization of plastic waste, actively develop the plastic circular economy, promote the whole life cycle treatment from the production, circulation, use, recycling, disposal and other links, and explore the coordinated development road of plastic use and ecological environment protection.
"Classified recycling is the key link to realize plastic recycling." Wang Yonggang introduced that the Chinese government has introduced a series of incentives such as investment, finance and taxation to regulate and guide the recycling of plastic waste and promote the green, low-carbon and recycling development of the plastic industry. Driven by the government, enterprises and the public have participated widely, forming a wide range of recycling system.
China has established a perfect waste plastic recycling system composed of recycling outlets, sorting centers, processing and utilization plants, and has made use of the Internet, the Internet of things and other technological innovation recycling models to promote the "integration of two networks" of waste classification network and renewable resources recycling network, with remarkable results.
In the process of carrying out classified recycling, China has adopted the "special recycling" mode for plastic packaging wastes with certain economic value, such as pet (polyethylene terephthalate) beverage bottles, HDPE (high density polyethylene) daily product packaging barrels (bottles), PP (polypropylene) plastic lunch boxes, and has established a huge recycling network covering cities and villages, which can basically realize the "collection of all receivables" of waste plastic bottles. For plastic wastes such as plastic pesticide bottles and mulching films, which are widely used, difficult to collect and high risk of environmental leakage, China adopts the "compulsory recycling" mode, and has formulated the "measures for the administration of agricultural film" and "measures for the administration of the recycling and treatment of pesticide packaging waste" to stipulate the recycling obligations of producers. At present, a new mode of recycling pesticide bottles with a deposit system has emerged, which is operated and managed by a third-party professional company. For low-value plastics with high recycling costs, such as plastic packaging bags and plastic packaging films, the mode of "integration of two nets and unified recycling" is adopted to classify and recycle with other household garbage.
At present, the production capacity and output of waste plastic recycling and recycling in China rank first in the world. The number of enterprises engaged in waste plastic recycling and recycling exceeds 15000, and the number of relevant employees is about 900000. In 2021, the material recycling volume of waste plastics in China was about 19million tons, with a recovery rate of 31%, which was nearly 1.74 times the average material recycling rate of waste plastics in the world. The recycling capacity accounted for about 70% of the world, and 100% of domestic material recycling was achieved. In the same period, the material recovery rates of domestic waste plastics in the United States, the European Union and Japan were only 5.31%, 17.18% and 12.50% respectively.
In the process of plastic pollution control, more and more consumers take the initiative to choose environmental protection products, bring their own toiletries when traveling, and refuse to over package goods, gradually forming a new trend of green consumption. In daily life, consumers actively participate in waste classification, do not litter plastic waste, and hand over recyclable plastic waste such as recyclable beverage bottles to special recycling personnel to help recycle plastic waste. Many schools also carry out "plastic pollution control" publicity activities to "pass on the concept of green consumption from generation to generation".
Establish a "plastic pollution control community"
Accelerate the process of global governance
China has gradually explored an effective path to solve plastic pollution through the development of plastic circular economy by vigorously carrying out the full life cycle treatment of plastic pollution, the cultivation of green industrial system, the innovation of green technology and business model, the advocacy of green consumption, and the CO treatment of multiple factors. Its practice and experience have important reference value for further improving and strengthening the treatment of plastic pollution and promoting the cooperation of global plastic pollution treatment.
"Plastic pollution is a common challenge facing mankind, and no country can be spared." Wang Yonggang said that, therefore, it is necessary to establish the awareness of a community with a shared future for mankind, and the world should unite to take positive actions to form a "plastic pollution control community" with the broad participation of all countries and regions.
At present, major economic and population countries in the world are greatly prohibiting, restricting and replacing the use of plastic products, and strengthening the recycling of plastic waste. "Countries need to exchange experience, strengthen cooperation and provide more references to each other, which will greatly accelerate the process of global plastic pollution control." Wang Yonggang said.
The infrastructure of plastic waste collection and treatment in some less developed countries and regions is very imperfect, the recycling rate of plastic is relatively low, and the risk of environmental leakage is high, which has become a short board of global plastic pollution control. In this regard, Wang Yonggang proposed that the export of "plastic waste" to these countries and regions that do not have better recycling conditions should be prohibited. At the same time, developed countries and international organizations should give them appropriate assistance in terms of capital, technology, management, talents, etc.
Contact Person: Mr. Fan