Sharing the Question of Plastic Recycling

Overview

For over 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise. An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4% increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years. (Source: Worldwatch Institute – January 2015)

Greenpeace say that “right now an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic, everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truck load of rubbish a minute”

Ocean Waste - Recycle IT
Ocean Waste – Recycle IT

Most plastics used daily have a very low economic reuse value. Think about bread wrapping or banana bags. Another fact is plastics wrappers can contain numerous materials which are hard to separated. Examples include sweet wrappers, take-away food containers, coffee cups, coffee capsules and plastic/foil-lined cartons for soup and milk. Are investments in recycling solutions for these materials profitable? If not, how can this change to benefit the world?

What we do today?

Since the 1980s China has become the world’s largest importer of waste. In 2012, up to 56% of global exported plastic waste ended up in China. Imported plastic waste alone reached a peak of almost 9 million tonnes in 2012 (Source: Greenpeace)

China offered advanced notification to the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its plan to ban the importation of 24 types of waste, including plastics for recycling, waste textile materials and all unsorted mixed waste paper, the sort of paper that accumulates in household bins. It also says cardboard for recycling must be “cleaner” and free of contaminants such as gravel, dust and stones.

According to Industry Week, the biggest quantity of waste comes from the US followed by Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and Southeast Asia all of whom export large amounts of recyclables.

Map of China - Recycle IT
Map of China – Recycle IT

Change now!

On January 11th, 2018 China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) finalized a quality standard of 0.5% for certain imported recyclables. (Source; recycling today)

According to various government and trade organisations located across the globe this action fails to properly consider the negative effects on global recycling efforts, but in our view, we must recognize this change as an opportunity for governments and communities to take responsibility and well as action locally for waste and its possible reuse.

A recent report in the Irish Times suggests Ireland, which has little capacity to recycle plastic has been trying to locate newer recycling markets, but could we do more at home to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Greenpeace urges industries and corporations that manufacture and market plastics and other disposable products to take responsibility for their products through their entire life-cycle, take responsibility for the environmental costs and invest in transformative solutions and alternatives to put an end to the current unmanageable levels of waste produced every year.

Plastic - Recycle IT
Plastic – Recycle IT

What we say

Recycle IT don’t directly offer a plastic recycling service but like lots of organisations and homes we do accumulate plastic as part of our operations. We would love to see better plastic recycling routes and well as a reduction in overall packaging.

In our opinion, all stakeholders need to come together for the common good and find a range of solutions which meet the needs of different countries, markets and communities. Researching local needs, planning and infrastructure can help all stakeholders handle the plastic waste stream, hopefully with positive outcomes for the environment which we all share.

Recent Progress

The first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, was adopted on January 16th 2018. It is a part of the transition towards a more circular economy. It aims to protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a plastics challenge into a positive for the Future of Europe.

Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted.

For further information on recycling packaging includng plastic packaging in Ireland you can call Repak on 01 467 0190 or visit http://www.repak.ie.

About Recycle IT

Recycle IT is an award-winning not for profit social enterprise providing a collection and drop off service for all types of waste electrical, electronic and metal items. During the last 18 months Recycle IT offered drop off and collection services to 140,000 homes and organisations in Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE which includes thousands of dishwashers, computers, cables, monitors, microwaves, TV’s and metal items.

Our electrical community collection service is provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT are supported by Pobal, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.

Call us on 01 4578321 or email us at here

Visit our website www.recycleit.ie

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