Plastics and chemicals
An obvious solution to our plastic problems is to reduce and ultimately eliminate it from our lives as much possible. In contrast, the solution that industry increasingly proposes and supports is merely to use plastic waste as a so-called ‘resource’ to burn for the production of energy. This promotion of the incineration of plastic waste is environmentally unacceptable, as it provides no incentive for industry to redesign these problematic wastes, seriously undermines the goal of a circular economy and releases toxic waste into the air, the environment and water, as well as ultimately into our bodies.
The chemical residues left in the ocean by plastic pollution leakage, plastic burning incinerators and the entire materials production process for plastic results in persistent organic pollutants, toxics and endocrine disrupting chemicals in the ocean, impacting negatively on ocean life and by implication on the people who depend on oceans for their survival.
Banning the use of plastic bags is an effective and simple way to prevent plastic litter and change consumer behaviour in a positive manner. When China in 2008 banned ultra-thin plastic bags and required retailers to charge for other plastic bags, use of plastic bags decreased by 40 billion bags (2/3). Many state and local governments, as well as cities have followed suit, despite vigorous opposition by the plastics industry, leading to decreased plastic pollution. Clearly a worldwide ban of all plastic bags anywhere on the planet is required.
- No interference in waste workers access to recyclable plastics (keeping industry supplied with a feedstock)
- Ban plastic bags and straws everywhere
- Ensure the safe disposal of residual plastic waste (no incineration or toxic recycling)
- Encourage alternatives to plastic use