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Plastic and Waste

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04.01.2021

Plastic is widespread around the world and is one of the biggest problems in our environment. The possibilities are endless, but they have proven unsuccessful. Synthetic materials were produced in very large quantities in the early 1950s. Since then, mankind has not found the right solution to avoid the plastic.

What should we do? Can a household make a difference?

I don’t think so, but if we all awakened consciousness, we could find the solution to such problems as well. So far, only about nine percent of discarded plastic is recycled.

Plastic problem worldwide

More than ten million tons of litter enter the oceans annually, causing the death of many marine animals. Many of animals think that plastic and other dangerous substances are food. It costs them their lives. We also have an example where a seal was on the net, but it was found by chance and rescued by humans.

Another source of plastic particles is sewage that comes from a household or a large company. When people turn on washing machines with laundry made of synthetic material, the garbage goes right in the water. Another source, unknown to most people, is tiny plastic particles that are intentionally added to cosmetic products.

How quickly does plastic degrade in the environment?

The plastics do not decompose or decompose only slowly or are poorly broken down. If the plastic items end up in the environment or water bodies as wild garbage, then the decay can last for more than 50 years. We have many labels that show us how to properly dispose of garbage.

  • Expression “100% recyclable”: If this bag is disposed of correctly, namely via the yellow or recyclable waste bin, the plastic can be melted down and transformed into new products.
    • However, if the bag is thrown into the environment, it decomposes into microplastic particles.
    • If you throw it in the trash can, it will be incinerated; even plastics that end up in the yellow bin are often incinerated because they are heavily soiled by other rubbish and the recycling of plastics is often more expensive than making new products from petroleum.
  • Expression “groundwater neutral”: The bag does not emit any harmful chemicals if it is in the environment. But it also hardly degrades. This is not an argument that a bag is environmentally friendly.
  • Expression “degradable”: the inspection is only done optically, i.e. if nothing more of the plastic can be seen, it is considered degraded. Nevertheless, it can still be present as small plastic particles that can no longer be seen with the naked eye.

Solutions for plastic and waste

There are also the countries that “win” in this fight against pollution. We have an example in Austria where people in Vienna use garbage for heating and avoid environmental pollution. Another good example is Ljubljana, where people use waste to produce energy.

This is one of the most modern power generation models that can take almost 170,000 tons of garbage and use it for power generation.

European Union is considering introducing the plastic tax from 2021, which should lead to a reduction in plastic waste. Each country should pay at least 800 euros for every ton that is not recycled.

These small steps should bring success in the future and publicly improve our environment.

Sources:
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