Oceans of plastic killing turtles as the Australian Federal government pursues a carbon tax

Posted on December 30, 2011 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News

Where do we start on plastic waste discussions?  It is such a big problem that most people prefer to keep their head in the sand and do nothing about it.  Plastic waste is probably our biggest environmental problem, on comparison with warming of the planet and its consequences.   We used more plastic in the last 10 years than all of last century.  The only way to address this is put responsibility on the people that make plastic items.  Plastic bottle deposit and refund schemes are an effective way to address plastic waste in those items.  Recycling rates in South Australia are over 80% because of this.  25% elsewhere.  Plastic bag bans or even a small plastic bag fee have dropped consumption by over 90% in places that have done it.   Why does the Australian govt say it will cost them $271 million for shops to charge a fee for bags?  It should cost the govt very little and cost the consumer if they continue to use them.  Then the consumers will stop using them for the most part.  So the only real person to be affected is the manufacturer of the plastic bags and isn’t that what we want?

Plastic food packaging is getting out of control, there are so many items packages in plastic now, most of which has a life of a few minutes once the consumer purchases them.  What was wrong with paper bags and cardboard packaging?  It is not food waste as some claim, it is because it is cheaper for manufacturers to do this.  If we made it so it wasn’t cheaper to use this plastic then they would go back to biodegradable materials like paper and cardboard.

We can now make plastics simply biodegrade in a landfill.  The addition of a small amount of additive to the plastic at product formation time will give the plastic properties such that when it is disposed to a landfill (80% of all plastic go to a landfill), it will biodegrade down and go away.