'It is widely recognised that plastics have a crucial role to play in delivering a more sustainable future. Through their unique combination of light-weight, durability and other intrinsic properties, plastic materials already contribute to reduce GHG emissions making a more efficient use of our resources across a range of different sectors and everyday applications. As a result of their versatility and capacity for innovation, our materials are also invariably best placed to support breakthrough sustainable technologies in areas such as sustainable mobility, smart and efficient building, sustainable agriculture, food conservation or in the healthcare and medical sector, to name only a few. However, challenges relating to littering and end-of-life options for certain types of plastics waste —especially packaging waste— must be addressed if the material is to achieve its fullest potential in a circular and resource efficient economy.

It is in this spirit of commitment to future generations, that PlasticsEurope has decided to set a series of ambitious targets and initiatives up to 2030 that are focussed on the key areas of preventing leakage of plastics into the environment, improving resource efficiency and increasing recycling and reuse rates.

The Plastics 2030 Voluntary Commitment focuses on preventing leakage of plastics into the environment, 0n improving resource efficiency and the circularity of plastic packaging applications. “Plastics 2030”: making Circularity and Resource Efficiency a Reality Prevent leakage of plastics into the environment. Improve resource efficiency. Improve circularity of plastic packaging. Different plastics for different products All play a role in a circular economy By increasing engagement inside and outside our industry.

By accelerating innovation in the full life cycle of products. By reaching in 2040 100% reuse, recycling and/or recovery of all plastic packaging in the whole EU. In 2030: 60% reuse and recycling of all plastic packaging.y and through the regulatory support of the EU institutions.

Improve resource efficiency and circularity of plastics Prevent the leakage of plastics into the environment -Prevent littering: identification and littering prevention solution of most found items into the environment.  -Prevent pellet loss

Changing consumption habit and prioritising durability packaging against short term disposability of waste should be the path forward in the medium and long term to create a better and sustainable future, said TerraCycle chief executive officer and founder Tom Szaky.

“The funny joke is that you may know now that the Olympic medals are circular as they are made from cell phone waste. So, if you work really hard and spent a decade winning your sport in the Olympics, you will get a piece of garbage (medal made from recycled materials), standing on a garbage in Tokyo Olympics,” joked Szaky.

Choose a bottle made 100% from recycled plastic in the new decade in 2020

As it is in every product sector if you can’t remove it, buy less and buy better. So, what does better look like?
You take a plastic bottle and you remove all of the fossil fuel element of the raw material. You make it 100% recycled plastic. A bottle made completely from bottles. 

What should you do?

Quite simply, we all need to do the same: use less.
As consumers, we should strive to remove as much of all format single-use from our lifestyles – bottles, cans, cartons, trays and bags. And when it comes to water, if you do forget that refillable, or if filtration isn’t yet a viable option for your business, this doesn’t make you a bad person.
Goldman Sachs released a report on the effects of climate change in 2019 end on cities around the world, and it makes for grim reading.
The bank's Global Markets Institute, led by Amanda Hindlian, warned of significant risks to the world's largest cities, which are especially vulnerable to more frequent storms, higher temperatures, rising sea levels, and storm surges.
JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs say 2019 is the year climate change is at the top of investors' minds

Circular rethink

If there’s one thing on which all waste experts will agree it’s that the linear make-use-dispose model on which we built our society needs ditching for good. It’s all about going “circular” these days. But weaving our economic systems into one harmonious, never-ending bundle of recycling and reuse is no easy task.
For starters, it means a massive overhaul in how waste is conceived. Even the word is loaded: “waste” isn’t actually wasted material, says Marcus Gover, director at the UK advocacy group WRAP, it’s a valuable commodity. And the first companies that need to recognise that are the waste (or should that be value?) management companies.

A similar rethink is required of designers and manufacturers too. The goods of today, Gover says, need to be seen as the raw materials of tomorrow.

Steve Lee, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, gives the example of carbon fibre. On the one hand, it’s at the “cutting edge” of transport innovation, with the likes of McLaren and Airbus excited about its advantages in terms of strength, weight and energy efficiency. But little serious thought has gone into its re-use or recycling. Closing these “resource loops” is essential, he adds. “We will also need more clever technology to separate materials quickly and efficiently for recycling.”

Convincing consumers

It’s not just business that needs to change. Between now and 2025, public attitudes to waste require a radical overall too.

Retailer responsibility

Responsibility for consumer-related recycling shouldn’t fall entirely on consumer shoulders. Retailers that sell unrecyclable packaging should also make a change, argues Conrad MacKerron, director of the corporate social responsibility programme at the As You Sow Foundation. “A through can be achieved through  implementation of cutting-edge technology an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between recyclers, designers, packagers, manufacturers, businesses, municipalities, governments, and others.

#1 Computer technology will be used in various ways to aid in waste management.

Computerized methods will continue to be created to aid with, and enforce, the division of waste from recycled materials Waste and recycling solutions will involve the collection of data to meet sustainability and energy goals. Products will be tracked throughout their lifetimes. Business models will be created based on product lifecycle data so as to prevent the generation of waste

#2 Composting initiatives will take place along with more recycling programs.

In 2020, compost infrastructure will expand in many areas, especially in areas that have food waste recycling

#3 We will see plastic waste made into high-quality resin that will replace the current greenhouse gas-emitting prime resin that is used in the plastic industry.

#4 Researchers will look at ways that waste can be converted to energy (WTE).

These include circular economy measures, on-demand service, and anaerobic digesters. Circular economy measures include purchasing wasted food’s “energy.” Technologies will soon be able to treat food waste onsite.

#5 The recycle industry will continue to put pressure on WTE projects.

Developing economies are not aware of the benefits of WTE, and that is expected to inhibit growth of the recycling industry.A change in thought is needed

#6 Governments will continue to promote waste to energy (WTE) efforts.
 

#7 Municipalities and the government will be more involved in waste recycling, creating regulations for collecting and processing waste.

Better collection and processing of waste will be possible once cities provide the needed regulations. Government regulations will drive new waste programs

#8 Cooperation and communication between various entities will be key to the success of future waste management solutions.

#9 Packaging will continue to change into recyclable forms.

Disposable items end up in the trash bin. Trends in the solid waste industry are causing major changes in packaging.

#10 Waste management solutions will include thermal ones (incineration, pyrolysis, and gasification) in addition to biological ones among WTE options.

Thermal technology is a major contributor to the growth of WTE technology. Incineration is a type of thermal technology. It is popular in WTE plants, and it is expected to hold a large share of the thermal technologies used in the future

Solutions in 2020 will continue to be created and implemented, with computer technology taking a much larger role. Recycling, including various forms of waste-to-energy efforts, UPSCALING,  will also take a much greater role in waste management. New laws along with massive cooperation and coordination between governments, businesses, and individuals will also be required to successfully get on top of the situation. EPR and circular economy will be the way forward. An Eye on the Future of waste… waste not the waste, but think and act now in 2020

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About the author

Dr Sameer Joshi

Member Environment And Plastic Image Committee,
PlastIndia Foundation

Dr. Sameer Joshi is a Member Governing Council Indian Plastics Institute and Senior Member Society of Plastic Engineers USA. He has his own plastic injection moulding unit in Pune since last 22 years.

He is a Chartered Engineer and Approved Valuer for Plant and Machinery, as well as an Editor of Plastic Directories. Ha has completed his PHD on topic: Analysis of role of various stake holders in Plastic waste management in 2017.

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