Supply Side vs Disposal Side Issues for PlasticPosted on December 30, 2011 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
What we need to understand is there are two sides to plastic. The supply side and the disposal side. Manufacturers are very keen to address the supply side as that is where they can lessen their costs and provide a more secure supply of raw material. But what they to not like to address is the disposal side. And this is the side that affects the consumers the most. Making a bottle with a thinner wall poses just the same disposal problem as the original one. Making a bottle out of plant material doesn’t mean it is biodegradable. If disposed to a landfill it will still last many 100’s of years like a regular plastic bottle.
So manufacturers need to look at the disposal side too before they can claim environmental sustainability. This can be in actively encouraging recycling schemes, deposit schemes, setting up recycling containers or partnering with local councils to help pay for the set up of recycling bins. Also they could put in a landfill biodegradable additive to the plastic in the event that their bottle (or any other item) does go to a landfill, then they know it will biodegrade away and not sit there for 100’s of years. If the bottle doesn’t go to a landfill but is recycled or incinerated for its energy the inclusion of these additives does not affect these operations at all. So it is a good back stop allowance that puts an end to plastic waste no matter how it is treated.