- Biodegradable Plastics: traditional plastics take a really long time to biodegrade in the environment. This has prompted the creation of biodegradable plastics (short form, bioplastics). Biodegradable plastic is plastic produced using natural raw materials and degrades naturally in the environment (in theory).
Raw materials such as rice starch, banana peel, algae, seaweed, a combination of sugar (thymidine) and CO2, corn, shellfish, and waste frying oil have been reported to be viable raw materials for production of bioplastics.
However, there have been several reports on how some ‘biodegradable plastics’ are not actually biodegradable. This may either be because they are not produced with biodegradable raw materials, or the conditions required to foster degradation have not been met.
- Recycling Plastics: Recycling can either be closed-loop or open loop. Closed-loop recycling involves reprocessing waste products back to their original product. In contrast, in open-loop recycling, waste can be reprocessed to make other materials. Not all plastics are recyclable. This can be due to either economic or technological reasons. Some examples of non- recyclable plastics include straws, plastic bags, some plastic toys, plastic cutlery, plastic plates and bottles that are not clean, etc. Recyclable plastics usually have the universal recycling icon on them, and sometimes instructions to be followed.
However, the issue of greenwashing has made it challenging to identify actually recyclable products. Greenwashing is when companies use misleading/ambiguous texts or outrightly lie on products by making them seem recyclable or environmentally friendly.
That is why the use of International and nationally accepted environmental product labels is essential.
My thoughts on the matter;
- The integration of plastic waste technologies is the most effective system for managing plastic waste.
- Plastic waste collection and sorting is the most challenging part of the plastic waste management process. Technologies like ‘The interceptor’ should be encouraged and developed as they are the future of plastic waste collection. (The Interceptor TM is a recent technology created to retrieve plastic waste from rivers before they can reach the ocean).
- When buying products, check for recycling labels, and nationally and internationally accepted environmental labels.
- Plastic bags should be re-used
https://youtu.be/bm1rH70wfJo ( the interceptor)