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
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.
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.
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?
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)