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Title Four tough actions that would help fight the global plastic crisis
Source Other
Date 2018-01-23 PM 5:48:40 Hit 175
Contents
Beijing’s move in effect closes down the export of recyclable plastics, paper and other materials from the world’s richest countries. The UK, rest of Europe, US, Australia and others have for a long time been dependent on China to take the poor quality materials that they collect and do not have the infrastructure or capacity to use themselves. Until more recycling plants are built to deal with it domestically, the UK faces a build-up of plastic waste.
 
Other countries in Asia will continue to accept some of the lower quality materials, but this is a temporary fix at best. Sending plastic to India, Vietnam or Cambodia instead of China may limit the amount that has to be stored, placed in landfill or burnt in the UK, but it does nothing to reduce the overall amount of plastic.
 
We cannot simply rely on the actions of concerned individuals. What’s needed goes beyond reusing plastic water bottles, stopping using plastic drinking straws and taking reusable bags to the supermarket.
 
 
Here are a few suggestions:
 
Recycle quality – not just quantity

Recycling targets tend to focus on quantity, but the quality of materials collected is just as important. Recycling “quality” refers to how clean and well sorted individual materials are.
 
Stop collecting stuff for the sake of it

If the infrastructure to sort certain items or materials does not exist locally (as with some crisp packets, polystyrene take away boxes or coffee cups) it is only sensible for those items not to be collected. So stop collecting things for the sake of it, put in place the facilities to deal with a wider range of materials or ban the difficult to recycle materials.
 
Boost demand for recycled plastic

This means supporting manufacturers to develop technology that can use it where possible.
Producers must be held responsible

Existing arrangements could be reformed so that they encourage recyclability to be built in at the design stage, while incentivising the maximum use of recycled content. Regulations could tax or ban the use of non-recyclable products or those that use particularly difficult materials, and they could ban some single use plastic products.
 
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