Affected by the epidemic, the global demand and use of plastic products are increasing. After these plastic products are discarded, they bring great damage to the ecological environment. Plastic wastes such as masks and gloves have been washed to remote beaches, and plastic packages for takeout food and express delivery have piled up in landfills. It is urgent to control plastic pollution.
In order to curb the impact of plastic waste on the environment, governments of various countries have issued treatment measures to promote the implementation of policies. Relevant enterprises also respond to the government's environmental protection initiatives and pursue sustainable operation.
Difficult to reuse plastic waste as a burden
The United Nations reports that the world uses up to 5 trillion plastic bags every year. Only 9% of the world's 9 billion tons of plastic products can be recycled, and most of the rest will eventually be buried or flow into the natural environment. Plastic waste, which is difficult to degrade and low recycled, has caused a heavy burden to the environment and economic development.
According to statistics, South Korea produces about 70000 tons of marine garbage every year, of which plastic garbage accounts for an alarming proportion. According to the data of 2019, plastic garbage accounts for 81.2% of all marine garbage, which is the number one factor leading to the death of many marine organisms.
According to the data of South Korea's Ministry of environment, the reuse rate of plastic products in South Korea was only 34.4% in 2017. According to the analysis of South Korean environmental protection experts, after the recycled plastic waste is transferred to the treatment institution, it can not be reused due to some reasons such as foreign matter contamination and quality degradation, and can only be destroyed in the end.
As a country surrounded by the sea, plastic waste seriously threatens Australia's marine environment. According to the Australian Department of agriculture, water resources and environment, about 80% of marine garbage is plastic. It is estimated that by 2050, the plastic in the ocean will exceed the weight of fish.
In addition, the amount of plastic waste caused by people in daily life is amazing. Australians use up to 10 million plastic bags a day, up to 4 billion a year. Eventually, about 150 million will flow into the sea and waterways, dumping up to 8 million tons of plastic into the sea every year. According to the data released by the Australian environment department, only 14% of plastic waste in the country is recycled every year, including only 3% of plastic bags.
According to statistics on statista website, in 2018, Germany produced about 19 million tons of plastic products, accounting for about one third of the total plastic products in the EU; Germany produces an average of about 39 kilograms of plastic waste every year, far exceeding the EU average of 33 kilograms.
In the UK, about 700000 plastic bottles are turned into garbage every day. Of the 30 billion plastic bottles used by British families every year, only 57% are recycled. According to the latest data in 2019, more than 370000 tons of plastic can be recycled in the UK every year. Although the recycling volume has increased significantly compared with only 13000 tons in 2000, most plastics are eventually transported to landfills or incineration sites.
Governments of all countries solve problems
Actively dealing with plastic pollution is related to global ecological and environmental protection and high-quality economic development of all countries. Facing the problem of plastic pollution, governments of various countries have issued relevant policies to strengthen the recyclable and classified collection and treatment of plastic waste.
According to the 2019 national waste policy action plan, Australia will ban the export of waste plastics, paper, glass and tires from the second half of 2020, and eliminate problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025. At present, most Australian state and territory governments have banned the use of disposable lightweight plastic bags. In some states and territories, people can also send waste plastic bottles to designated places for recycling and exchange them for change. According to the Australian retail association, the consumption of disposable plastic bags in Australia has decreased by more than 80% since the plastic restriction order was announced by the country's two largest supermarket chains in July 2018.
In 2018, the UK issued a new resource and waste strategy to comprehensively change the way plastic waste is treated. Enterprises and manufacturers will assume greater responsibility to pay all the costs of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste, including automobiles, electronic products and batteries. In addition, the British government signed the Alan MacArthur Foundation's global commitment to the new plastic economy in 2018, committed to accelerating the transformation to a plastic circular economy.
In recent years, Germany has introduced a number of environmental protection policies to reduce plastic waste. Since 2015, local supermarkets no longer provide disposable plastic bags for free, which has reduced the consumption of plastic bags by 64%. At the end of 2018, the German Ministry of environment proposed a "five point plan", including banning the use of disposable plastic packaging, advocating environmental protection packaging, strengthening the use of recyclable plastic products, avoiding the inclusion of plastic in organic waste, opposing marine waste and advocating the sustainable utilization of plastic products, aiming to reduce the production of plastic products and strengthen recycling. In response to the EU's ban on the production of disposable plastic products, which will take effect in 2021, the German government also decided to ban the sale of plastic products in multiple categories in July this year.
In May 2018, the Ministry of environment of the Republic of Korea issued the "comprehensive countermeasures for the treatment of recyclable waste", which pointed out that we should strive to reduce the emission of plastic waste by half by 2030, increase the reuse rate of plastic waste from 34% in 2017 to 70%, and reduce the use of disposable products by 35% by 2022.
Earlier, the Korean government stipulated that consumers should not provide disposable cups when they enjoy drinks in coffee shops. From August 1 this year, the Ministry of environment of South Korea began to try out the policy of reducing the use of plastic products. If businesses directly provide disposable cups without asking customers' opinions, they will be fined. In addition, since 2021, the one-time tableware provided by coffee shop take out packaging and takeout will be prohibited from being provided free of charge. From 2022, plastic straws and plastic mixing rods will also be banned.
The South Korean government said that manufacturers who suffered losses in the policy of restricting the use of disposable products will be given a certain "career transformation subsidy" to compensate for some of their business losses. For businesses in coffee shops and traditional markets, the Korean government plans to support them by providing tableware cleaning equipment.
At the beginning of this year, China's national development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of ecological environment issued the "opinions on Further Strengthening the treatment of plastic pollution", requiring that the use of non degradable disposable plastic straws in the catering industry throughout the country be prohibited by the end of 2020. Experts believe that although the output of plastic straw accounts for only 0.036% of the total output of plastic products, it has a high degree of attention, and the ban will have a strong demonstration effect on the whole society.
Help environmental protection enterprises promote "new plastic economy"
In January 2016, the world economic forum in Davos released a report entitled "new plastic economy - Rethinking the future of plastics", which put forward the vision of establishing plastic circular economy for the first time. The purpose is to use the principle of circular economy to make plastics never turn into waste. As countries around the world gradually increase plastic restrictions, relevant enterprises have also innovated technologies, developed relevant environmental protection products, and promoted the vision of plastic economy to reality through actions.
At the 2020 Australian National Plastics summit, the industry issued several important statements to show how enterprises can help meet the challenge of plastic waste. Among them, pact group, Australia's largest producer of rigid plastics, announced an investment of a $500 million to upgrade facilities, research and improve technology to increase the use of sustainable packaging. By 2025, increase the recyclable components in its product portfolio to 30%. Qantas plans to reduce 100 million disposable plastic items, such as cups, tableware and lunch boxes, and replace them with compostable items by the end of 2020.
In response to the call of the South Korean government, South Korean enterprises have joined the ranks of environmental protection. A local comprehensive food enterprise established a marine plastic waste management group to carry out the "three-year plan" activity committed to reducing marine pollution. For the 40 fishing vessels under its management, the management team will reduce the use of plastic products on board by 65.4% within three years. In addition, the company's subsidiaries have also successfully developed ultra light environmental protection glass bottles to replace colored plastic bottles for beer.
Asda supermarket in the UK will pack new plant coatings for fresh agricultural products, which has been approved by the European Commission. Cupclub, a start-up company in London, used the electronic label technology in the field of Internet of things to design a cup recycling system. By setting up recycling points in the city, people can use reusable cups like renting shared bicycles, and reached cooperation with McDonald's and Starbucks at the beginning of this year.
In 2019, 30 companies including BASF, a German chemical company, established the "plastic waste end alliance" in London. These companies plan to invest a total of $1.5 billion by 2024 to invent technologies to improve waste recycling efficiency. In addition, many creative companies in Germany "turn waste into treasure", such as Berlin pentatonic furniture factory, which uses people's daily discarded plastic bottles and disposable cups to make all kinds of tables, chairs and cups.
According to statista, in 2018, only 4.5% of Germans will buy plastic bags when purchasing food; 57% of people will not buy disposable plastic bags when shopping; 72% of the people support the charge on plastic bags. Parades or art exhibitions related to plastic waste are often held throughout Australia to increase people's awareness of plastic reduction. "Every consumer should be aware of the importance of reducing the use of plastic products. Only when every individual makes efforts can we achieve real environmental protection results," said a researcher at the Korean National Academy of ecology
Controlling plastic pollution and promoting the establishment of a "new plastic economy" are inseparable from the active participation of ordinary people. With the continuous promotion of national policies, people's awareness of environmental protection is also improving, and plastic pollution will eventually become a thing of the past.
Contact Person: Mr. Fan