Academic urges European ban on single-use bags

Hamish Champ
PRW

Published: February 21, 2014 12:05 pm ET
Updated: February 21, 2014 12:09 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging Sustainability Public Policy Film & Sheet Extrusion Europe
Companies & Associations

A United Kingdom academic has called on the European Parliament to tackle single-use plastic bags in order to focus consumers' minds on the 'throw away society' and change their behavior.

Speaking this week at a conference in Brussels organized by European Green MPs and the European Free Alliance party, Richard Thompson, a professor at the University of Plymouth's School of Marine Science and Engineering, said single-use plastic bags were "the epitome of our disposable, single-use society" and Europe could start addressing the problem with legislation on single-trip plastic bags.

"This would force people to look at what they take home with them. Yes, the actual tonnage [of plastic material used] is small, but it would help society focus on the issue," he added. Thompson did not say in his address what action he would like to see over the issue.

However, despite his call for legislation on single-use plastic bags Thompson said he recognized there were benefits to plastics in many walks of life and crucially in its "inherent recyclability."

"Plastic is the ideal candidate in a circular economy," he said, arguing that waste plastic should be seen as a resource.

"We have had almost 60 years of the 'throw away' culture and 30 percent of what gets thrown away is made of plastic. We need to keep the positives [of plastics] without the debris."

Touching on biodegradable plastics, Thompson said that while on the face of it such material might stem from other natural sources the end result was the same: "They don't solve waste management issues and they don't stop waste accumulating in landfill or in the environment."

Only by capturing these materials once their useful lives had ended would these problems be solved, he argued.

Thompson also showed the conference a see-through plastic bag containing the small debris of a degradable plastic bag which had been in his possession for 10 years.

"Some of these degradable plastics break down rapidly, but lots don't. All we achieve here is a 'techno-fix', where material is allowed to rot in the environment.

"What needs to happen is for consumers to get better information on recyclability of the plastics they use, as well as better design in plastics so the resource can be used again."

At the same conference Ton Emans, president of Brussels-based trade body Plastics Recyclers Europe, said: "The future is about developing quality plastics recyclates for producing new goods and not about down-cycling and misleading the consumer about biodegradability and or the compostability of products in the environment, including the marine environment."

Emans also claimed that as little as 2 percent of degradable material in the recycling stream "created quality problems for recyclers."


Comments

Academic urges European ban on single-use bags

Hamish Champ
PRW

Published: February 21, 2014 12:05 pm ET
Updated: February 21, 2014 12:09 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Dow Chemical sees potential for PE growth in packaging

March 30, 2015 1:17 pm ET

The packaging market continues to provide growth for the polyethylene business of Dow Chemical Co. — which is a good thing, since the firm will ...    More

Image

Sipospack to build new flexible packaging plant in Hungary

March 30, 2015 9:38 am ET

Hungarian flexible packaging producer Sipospack Kft. is investing nearly 3 million euros ($3.2 million) in an expansion at a new site at Sóskút in...    More

Image

Flextronics launches global injection molding, tooling unit

March 26, 2015 4:29 pm ET

Flextronics International Ltd. (Booth S34125) is officially launching Precision Plastics, a global injection tooling and manufacturing unit, as a...    More

Image

Kautex showing off an extrusion blow molding machine at NPE

March 25, 2015 6:00 am ET

After 80 years in business, Kautex Maschinenbau GmbH officials know good old-fashioned word of mouth is often the best way to reach more customers.    More

Image

Fabri-Kal to expand its sustainable packaging with new Idaho plant

March 20, 2015 2:03 pm ET

Thermoformed packaging company Fabri-Kal Corp. plans to tap into Idaho's farming community to expand its sustainable packaging program.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events