The 4Rs for Controlling Plastic Waste

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

The 4Rs are incorporated in to the Logo of Plastic Waste Solutions.  We all know the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as a proposed plan to control the use of plastics and other waste.  There is a large element missing in this however and applies to over 90% of plastic waste.  In the USA there is 30 million tons of plastic made per years and over 90% goes to landfills.  In Australia there are 5 million tons made every year and 81% is disposed.  What is needed to add to the above is treating the plastic that goes to a landfill so it biodegrades away.  This is achieved by the addition of a landfill-biodegradable additive to the plastic at the time of extrusion.  Hence the concept, coined by PWS, of the 4Rs for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rejuvenate where Rejuvenate is for when the plastic biodegrades down to humus or fertiliser and rejuvenates the ground.  These 4Rs now encompass the whole solution to controlling plastic waste (with the exception of litter).   See or on twitter/@drrossh.

We could consider landfill-biodegradable additives as a back stop for plastics.  If all plastics had one of these additives in them, then no matter whether the plastic was recycled, disposed to landfill or incinerated, either way no long term plastic waste is left.  If recycled, then other plastics are made biodegradable, if landfilled it biodegrades away or if incinerated, it doesn’t matter if the plastic had a small amount of the additive in it.