5 Strategies to reduce the impact of plastics

Further to my previous article, here are 5 strategies to reduce the impact of plastics on our environment.

1. Reduce the  use Source reduction – Retailers and consumers can select products that use little or no packaging. Select packaging materials that are recycled into new packaging – such as glass and paper. If people refuse plastic as a packaging material, the industry will decrease production for that purpose, and the associated problems such as energy use, pollution, and adverse health effects will diminish.

2. Reuse containers Since refillable plastic containers can be reused about 25 times, container reuse can lead to a substantial reduction in the demand for disposable plastic, and reduced use of materials and energy, with the consequent reduced environmental impacts. Container designers will take into account the fate of the container beyond the point of sale and consider the service the container provides. “Design for service” differs sharply from “design for disposal”.

3. Require producers to take back resins Get plastic manufacturers directly involved with plastic disposal and closing the material loop, which can stimulate them to consider the product’s life cycle from cradle to grave. Make reprocessing easier by limiting the number of container types and shapes, using only one type of resin in each container, making collapsible containers, eliminating pigments, using water-dispersible adhesives for labels, and phasing out associated metals such as aluminum seals. Container and resin makers can help develop the reprocessing infrastructure by taking back plastic from consumers.

4. Legislatively  require recycled content Requiring that all containers be composed of a percentage of post-consumer material reduces the amount of virgin material consumed.

5. Standardize labeling and inform the public The chasing arrows symbol on plastics is an example of an ambiguous and misleading label. Significantly different standardized labels for “recycled,” “recyclable,” and “made of plastic type X” must be developed.

What you have to understand is that new products are always more expensive until they are used in bulk.  If everyone opted to use compostable products over single use plastic, then the compostable option will become cheaper than the single use plastic.  It just takes a commitment from everyone to change their habits for the good of our environment.


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