The Great Recycling Myth / Part II

In the previous article, we clarified the current recycling process, its challenges, and its obstacles. In this article, we will focus on other ways and tips that have the potential to truly transition a linear economy into a circular economy. These tips for inspiration were compiled based on the recommendations of key stakeholders, market observations as well as our own experience with waste projects in countries with diverse waste management.

How to improve the ratio between material and energy recovery? What are the actions that governmental bodies could do?

A dozen types of plastics are on the market

Let’s make it more difficult for simple low quality and short-life plastic to get into circulation. Let’s limit the plastic types by law. Let’s choose the plastics that truly make sense and limit usage and application of others to a minimum

Dozen types of plastics on the market.

Let’s be more reasonable with hygiene standards and obligations

Yes, the covid pandemic taught us its lesson. However, is there any justification for wrapping every banana in plastic…? If unwrapped fruits and vegetables are not harmful, let’s promote them.

Let’s limit the material categories that can be used for specific goods production

Definition of materials (or combination of materials) that could be allowed for particular product production (e.g., kitchen tools) could significantly ease the recycling process. We understand this approach is questionable from the freedom of enterprise point of view, but it is worth considering. An alternative approach might lead to supporting products made of plastic of one type either via regulations or tax breaks.

Products made from recycled materials (shoes and t-shirt)

Let’s favor secondary raw materials with lower taxes wherever applicable

Lower taxes would reflect on lower prices which will motivate consumers to choose these products over the “standard ones” and ultimately drive the demand for recycled products. Let’s be honest – lower prices make the recycled materials attractive for anyone, not just those who search for “green labels”.

If PET Plastics and Alu-cans truly matter, let’s secure these will be really returned

Deposit Return Schemes proved to be very handy when it comes to the motivation of citizens to return PET bottles and cans back for recycling (reaching a 90% ratio on average). Let’s be inspired by countries that have already gone down this road.

Recycled aluminum cans.

Build regulations that will reduce the variability of different plastics

The expected outcome? Simplified sorting and recycling, and no need to search and develop sophisticated technologies to ensure the recycling will be feasible.

Do you get pessimistic? There is already something getting done. Let’s cheer up with some promising signs:

By 2030 all plastic packaging should be designed to be recyclable or reusable. EU’s Plastic Strategy features a fee modulation to drive more manufacturers and retailers to use plastic packaging that can be recycled on their product

And now, you. How about your personal contribution?

Oh yes, corporates are certainly not the only ones to blame. Let’s not underestimate the individual impact. You know what they say – 90 percent of people who behave only 10 percent better can do more than 3 percent of people who behave 100 percent better?

Recycling symbol - recycle, reduce, reuse

Remember, consumers’ behavior shapes producers’ offers! 

  • Shop consciously and think before buying 
  • Reuse, reuse, reuse everything you already have 
  • Prefer unwrapped food 
  • Prefer recycled products (made at least partially from recycled material)

Would you like to know what is the recycling rate in your country? Take a look at our comparative analysis of waste management across 38 OECD member states.

  • Andrea Basilova
  • Andrea takes care of all Sensoneo’s online and offline communication. Her goal is to make Sensoneo a strong brand recognized across global smart waste management market. Her background in marketing and PR enables her to be the perfect advocate for the Sensoneo solution.
  • All articles