“Wrong” solutions; free; plastic-free Brahmaputra; Lego made from recycled bottles; Zero waste concept

In this weekly column, WhatPackaging? highlights the stories of stakeholders working to fight plastic pollution

Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever Develop ‘Wrong’ Solutions to Plastic Pollution: Report

The nonprofit movement Break Free From Plastic tracked and analyzed projects by seven leading companies and eight alliances that claimed to have effective solutions to the plastic crisis. However, the report highlighted that these large FMCG companies have projects that do little to nothing as part of their response.

The report, titled “Missing the Mark: Unveiling Corporate False Solutions to the Plastic Pollution Crisis,” examines 265 corporate projects to understand whether companies are paying much-needed attention to solutions like the reuse system versus wrong solutions.

It has taken a close look at the initiatives of Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestlé, Unilever and the Coca-Cola Company. This list is similar to the names in the top polluters of the worldwide global audit conducted by the Break Free From Plastic movement.

Experts said that of the 265 projects that ran from 2018 to April 2021, only 39 were invested in reuse. A frightening 226 of these projects have been labeled the wrong solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.

Procter & Gamble tops the list from absolute worst to least worst, with Unilever at the bottom but still a top offender.

Break Free From Plastic corporate campaign coordinator Emma Priestland said despite claims that the world’s largest polluting companies are tackling plastic pollution, the numbers are the evidence to understand whether they mean business. “These companies pursue bogus solutions that are potentially harmful at worst and simple wishful thinking at best,” she said in a statement. “The results show that only 15% of the projects are proven solutions such as reuse, replenishment and alternative delivery systems. Instead, these companies invest in projects that do little to eliminate single-use plastic. “

The FMCG companies analyzed 214 direct projects with a total of 38 reuse pilots and projects as well as 176 incorrect solution projects.

Greenpeace USA Global Project Leader Graham Forbes said the report was just another example of how leading brands consistently fail to prioritize reuse and take real steps to reduce throwaway packaging. “It is clear that reuse-based alternatives are essential for these companies to remain viable in a climate-proof future and to end their contribution to the plastic pollution crisis. Instead of working with the fossil fuel industry to promote wrong solutions, these companies must end their reliance on single-use plastics and scale-up systems of reuse around the world. “

With plastic production expected to quadruple by 2050, much of it will be powered by FMCG companies and their single-use packaging. Since the 1950s, only 9% of the plastic produced has actually been recycled, and with single-use plastic, the very few recyclable plastics come at a huge economic cost.

(Courtesy: greenqueen.com.hk/)

Assam youth advocates plastic-free Brahmaputra. a

With the aim of raising awareness of the dangers of plastic waste for the environment, a youngster from Assam’s Dibrugarh sets out on a trip on the Brahmaputra River on a specially built boat made from discarded plastic water bottles.

Dhiraj Bikash Gogoi began his journey from Bogibeel to Majuli with the topic “Plastic-free Brahmaputra” over a distance of 200 km.

“I don’t know how successful this trip will be, but I’m trying to make people aware of making the Brahmaputra flow completely plastic-free. Because the river is our lifeline, ”said Gogoi.

The boat is made up of 1,600 plastic water bottles that Gogoi collected from the banks of the Brahmaputra River that were thrown away by picnickers and tourists.

It took Gogoi a few days to build the boat, which is 11 feet long and 4 feet wide. It weighs 45 kg and can easily transport six people.

According to the United Nations, the Meghna Brahmaputra Ganges transport around 72,845 tons of plastic waste into the oceans every year.

(Courtesy: The Indian Express)


Lego plans to sell bricks made from recycled bottles

The toy giant Lego wants to put bricks from recycled beverage bottles on the shelves within two years. Lego makes around 3,500 different bricks and shapes, but is faced with the challenge of developing a sustainable product that can last for years – even decades.

The goal is to find a product that is so good that people won’t notice the difference, said Lego’s Tim Brooks. He didn’t say how much of his bricks will contain recycled material, adding, “It’s too early to tell.”

But he added that Lego wants to get the bottles out of the bottle “as soon as possible”.

Brooks, Legos vice president of sustainability, said the two types of blocks should fit together and, like any Lego product, be interchangeable.

In the next step, the prototype bricks are colored and tested with children and adult fans.

Lego said it would get soft drink bottles from the US first to make its new plastic toy parts. Plastic extracted from the oceans is unsuitable because it is normally degraded too much.

(Courtesy: BBC News)

How can cities implement zero waste concepts?

In an article published in the June 22nd issue of The Indian Express, Swati Singh Sambyal says our cities need to have effective waste management systems that are resource efficient, circular and inclusive. By moving to zero waste strategies, municipalities can immediately start reducing the cost of their waste management and device steps that focus on rethinking and reinventing waste management.

But how can cities implement zero waste concepts? First, make separation mandatory, not optional. According to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, every producer must separate waste into wet (biodegradable), dry (non-biodegradable) and hazardous household waste.

In order to mainstream segregation and focus on reducing waste at the source, price incentives can be explored as the main reason for behavior. In countries like Sweden and South Korea, for example, excessive waste generation is hindered as citizens pay more usage fees than those who generate less. In addition, unique initiatives such as the one in Mangaluru could be practiced, whereby households that separate and compost their garbage get a 50 percent discount on property tax, even mixed garbage is not collected. These efforts need to be complemented by ongoing advocacy and awareness-raising, for example by focusing on community-level committees to oversee and monitor segregation at the source. The creation of an incentive system for the separation of waste will ensure maximum recovery of wet and dry waste and ensure that only a minimum ends up in landfills.

Second, the establishment of effective collection and transport systems (C&T) to support the separation from collection through processing to disposal. This will help reduce the contamination of resources (especially dry waste) and continue to create systems so that resources can be reused and recycled. Increasing collection efficiency in cities through route optimization will also help to save resources such as fuel. This has been researched in cities like Surat (Gujarat), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), and Nagpur (Maharashtra). In addition, a robust management information system (MIS) to improve accountability and transparency and to obtain data on the percentage of waste separated, collected and processed, for example in the case of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

Third, build systems for maximum resource recovery in cities. Modify the infrastructure in line with the new paradigm to support maximum resource reclamation with an exit plan that is not heavily reliant on disposal infrastructures such as landfills or incinerators. If necessary, create a decentralized infrastructure to reduce C&T costs. In the long term, for example, in cities that have switched to decentralized systems (e.g. Alappuzha, Kerala, Ambikapur, Chattisgarh), savings of over 50 percent have been observed at C&T. In addition, cities can encourage local residents and large-scale producers to treat wet waste at source and consider introducing systems for subsidies and incentives for the adoption of decentralized technologies such as biomethanization, composting, etc.

(Courtesy: The Indian Express)

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