Conned by plastic

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. The message and the three-arrowed logo are world-famous but without serious government action on the ‘Reduce’ and the ‘Reuse’, recycling will remain a sham with stockpiles of plastic huge and growing. 

Clive Jackson, Democrats waste campaigner

Industry insiders made it clear on ABC TV 4Corners,10 August, that the logo is largely meaningless. The majority of plastics cannot be recycled, technically or because the sorting required makes it unviable. Not surprisingly, very few businesses are in that business.

Big Plastic has knowingly promoted the impossible concept of recycling to draw attention away from the harm its products are doing worldwide.

Plastic waste is filling the landfills, and the world’s oceans are ‘awash’ with plastics (up to 11m tonnes annually, ‘Science’).  Plastic is the biggest problem in the ‘world of waste’ and it forms a major contaminant in the need to separate and recycle other materials.

The public understands recycling. People will cooperate in household bin sorting, and even help in local ‘Clean up’ campaigns. As most States have legislated against single-use plastic bags, the large retailers have come on board, if reluctantly.

Plastic products and wrappings, however, are all over our shops. Packaging accounts for huge amounts of plastics, much of it thrown away immediately the product is opened.

Governments needs to set policies about reducing plastic use. They should to consider:

  • return/refund incentives
  • plastics standards to limit plastics used to those most readily recycled,
  • promote a market for recycled products, and
  • lead in the use of alternatives to plastics. 

Now here’s a thought… Why not make the plastics industry responsible for the recycling?

Tell us what you think.

Here’s good advice from Julia :

First I think we need some parameters around the amount of packaging used, even if that means legislation.
Then I think there should be requirements about the type of plastics used so that there can be some accountability about what is degradable or what can be re-cycled, as opposed to the worst types that remain forever clogging up the planet.
A few simple steps would enable people to understand what damage each type of plastic does on a scale of 1-10. Then we could start to become involved, target the worst offenders and know how to recycle properly.

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