Are your ready for the Plastic Free July? It is a yearly challenge that unites millions of people who give up plastic during the month of July. It‘s main purpose is to raise the awareness about plastic pollution and the unnecessary disposable plastic items in our daily life. I am in! Are you? As only 5 days are left before the challenge begins I feel it is a great time to share with you some facts about the current situation with the plastic waste in 2018.
40% of produced plastic is for PACKAGING which is usually being disposed after a single use*.
Less than 25% of produced plastic is being recycled around the world. The situation varies by countries in USA only 9%, in Europe 30%, in China 25% of plastic trash*.
31 December 2017 China has implemented a ban to import difficult to recycle plastic types, electronic waste and mixed contaminated paper. China has been importing over 60% of world plastic waste and this new law have shaken unprepared developed countries in Europe, USA, Japan and others that have been depending on China. This year the plastic waste export has increased to other undeveloped countries mostly in South Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam.
On the positive side this year many countries have taken serious steps fighting the plastic pollution.
Europe: In May 2018 European Commission has proposed a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds. UK is banning the plastic microbeads that are used cleaning products, scrubs and toothpaste. France has banned plastic bags and plastic cups, plates, and cutlery, to be brought in from 2020. In Hamburg (Germany) non-recyclable plastic coffee pods cannot be sold.
Afrika: Rwanda, Kenya and Marocco have banned plastic bags. Zimbabwe have implemented a total ban for EPS that is used to make food containers.
Australia: Tasmania, South and North parts of the country are banning single use plastic bags.
Asia: New Delhi (India) and has banned all forms of single use plastic. Taiwan has banned plastic bags.
Americas: Seattle (USA) has become the first city in USA banning single use plastic utensils and straws. New York (USA) is considering to ban plastic bags. Canada had banned plastic microbeads, in Montreal also has banned plastic bags.
Pacific: Vanuatu in 2017 announced the beginning of banning plastic bags and bottles.
Researchers from Britain’s University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have accidentally developed a plastic-eating enzyme. The researchers are working on improving the enzyme further to allow it to be used industrially to break down plastics in a fraction of the time. We might be close to finding the way how to solve plastic pollution!
I am hopeful, and believe that we are on the right track. We just need to act faster. Raising awareness and taking personal responsibility for your own waste is the key.
Happy Plastic free July to you all!
*- This is the statistics from NGM STAFF. SOURCE: ROLAND GEYER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA.