The Fight Against Marine Litter Continues…

The Fight Against Marine Litter Continues…

The Fight Against Marine Litter Continues…

Dira Eco-Friendly, Going Green, Green Living

Celebrating the wins no matter their scale is important. For environmentalist and nature- friends the great news last week was the voting by the European Parliament in favor of the proposals to take measures on 10 single-use plastics by 2021 and the collection of 90% of single-use plastic drink bottles. Sounds great right?

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Restricted Ban?

But before you jump around to note that is not a ban on all plastics. The ban is restricted to a select we group of plastic items such as cutlery, plates, stirrers, straws, sticks for balloons, and cotton bud sticks which will face market restriction.

So the ban or market restriction is initially not for all plastic. However, in addition to the ban on these specific items, it is also a proposal to reduce the consumption of plastic food containers, and drink cups. In addition, there is a plan to collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025, for example through deposit refund schemes. And to change the drink containers and bottle design.

The manufacturers will bear responsibility for the products they create and should ensure correct labeling indicating how items should be disposed of, the negative impact of inappropriate disposal and which type of plastic was used for production. The most important next step is to raise consumers’ awareness of available re-use systems and was management options, as well as, the negative impact on the environment of inappropriate disposal.

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Waste Responsibility and China’s Ban

In the second edition of the EU legislation in Progress dated October 19, 2018, you can find an overview of the proposed measures per plastic items prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service. Why is the market restriction on just a few items?

There are already alternative replacements on the market for plastic cutlery, plates, stirrers, and straws. Banning these items would be easy in several countries if the import on the alternative options takes place. There are also alternatives for drink cups and food containers as well but they are not yet as popular as the replacements for plastic cutlery and straws.

It is not a coincidence that many European Parliament Members were in favor of the Proposal. We know that there have been many research reports published over the years but what I think contributed to this decision is China’s ban on the import of 24 varieties of solid waste including plastic last year. Many countries in Europe and other countries of the world have been exporting their waste to China.

Now that it is not possible anymore because they have to deal with their own waste. By doing so they are able to quickly realize how much waste they are producing, which they did. They approved of the Proposal is a result of this.

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Green Business Opportunities

Furthermore, this positive response on the proposal also brings business opportunities for entrepreneurs to come up with solutions on how to dispose of waste, create alternatives to replace plastic, and assist with the collection of plastic both recyclable, and not recyclable.

It is a great initiative by Europe and I hope the Americas and the Caribbean get inspire to follow these steps towards a cleaner world/cleaner waters-environment/healthier marine life/ cleaner oceans.

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Final Thoughts

While the proposal has been received with open arms by eco-friends, there are several groups who are not happy with the proposal. Some argue that the plastic items are poorly defined, others say that the proposal failed to set specific market restrictions for food containers, and drink cups, and some argue that the considered extended producer (manufacturer) responsibility schemes could be misused. Others think that there should be specific strong regulations against producers of single-use plastics.

On the one hand, this proposal brings all sorts of difficulties for businesses who use plastics as raw materials to create their products. On the other hand, it also opens the door to new alternative innovative replacements for plastic.

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What do you think of these developments? Feel free to leave your comments in the section below.

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Sources:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/625115/EPRS_BRI(2018)625115_EN.pdf

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45965605

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20181018IPR16524/plastic-oceans-meps-back-eu-ban-on-throwaway-plastics-by-2021

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-pollution-ban-vote-eu-european-parliament-environment-ocean-meps-a8599686.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/24/european-parliament-approves-ban-on-single-use-plastics-uk-eu-brexit

4 Comments

Dave December 27, 2018 at 5:33 pm

I think it’s a great achievement but the fight must go on. It is still not sufficient as we need to change the cultural behavior as well. We need to learn how to detach from plastic. It is in almost everything we use. Plastic is all the way in the packaging of food products to sanitary products. This detachment can be done if we have replacements that are affordable. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to come up with new products and services.

Reply

    Dira January 25, 2019 at 3:31 am

    Hi Dave,

    You are right. This is a great opportunity to come up with products and services that are pro-nature.
    Thanks for sharing your view 🙂

    Reply

Jane February 23, 2019 at 6:24 pm

It is sad to see the damage we’ve made and I am glad to see that something is getting done. I’ve been very conflicted about this issue of environmental pollution. While we all know that we have to change, the actual “change is difficult to promote when you don’t have government or private sector support. Now we have an official start point where we can globally promote and encourage entrepreneurs to start eco-friendly businesses.

Reply

    Dira April 6, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Jane,

    That is very true but even with scientific proof, we have to be more resilient as elite groups are still defending the industry that causes most of the pollution. Entrepreneurs have to be very careful not to sell out their valuable ideas. Somethings are worth the work.

    Reply

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