The problem of plastic:four myths cleared up

September 17, 2019 7 min read

THE PROBLEM OF PLASTICS: FOUR MYTHS EXPLAINED

The aversion to plastic has never been so great. 2018 saw a vigorous uproar against the all-purpose material. It was the year of shocking images of Plastic beaches and plastic dead animals , it was the year with sophisticatedProjects against the plastic flood and the year in which even political crackdowns against plastic. But a new movement has long since spilled ashore - a counter-movement that questions whether plastic is really as bad as it is claimed everywhere. We at HALM want to clean up with them belittling arguments for the use of plastic.

MYTH 1: "WE IN GERMANY ARE NOT TO BULK FOR THE PLASTIC WASTE IN THE SEAS. THAT'S WHY OUR PLASTIC CONSUMPTION IS NOT A PROBLEM."

MYTH 1: "WE IN GERMANY ARE NOT TO BULK FOR THE PLASTIC WASTE IN THE SEAS. THAT'S WHY OUR PLASTIC CONSUMPTION IS NOT A PROBLEM."

With headlines like "These countries throw the most plastic into the seas", the focus is increasingly shifting to a few countries, mainly because of their geographical location by the sea, their relatively weak economic strength and theirs poorly developed recycling facilities would seem to be held accountable for the whole problem. However, if you take a closer look, there are often simple explanations for statistics without explanation. According toEuropean Environment Agency For example, the European Union exported in 2019 150,000 tons of plastic waste per month out of the EU. This should mean Germany for the garbage problem in Asia jointly responsible be. These countries are often emerging economies for which avoiding plastic waste is not yet a top priority. Issues like safe drinking water and sewage treatment are higher on the list.

With headlines like "These countries throw the most plastic into the seas", the focus is increasingly shifting to a few countries that seem to be accountable for the entire problem, primarily due to their geographical location by the sea, their relatively weak economic strength and their poorly developed recycling facilities would have to be drawn. However, if you take a closer look, there are often simple explanations for statistics without explanation. According to the European Environment Agency, for example, up until 2007 the European Union exported more plastic waste to Asia than within the EU. This means that Germany is likely to be partly responsible for the waste problem in Asia. These countries are often emerging economies for which avoiding plastic waste is not yet a top priority. Issues like safe drinking water and sewage treatment are higher on the list.

 

The decisive factor is that Plastic problem is not solved by pointing the finger at others and ourselves Finger pointing to push. Technologies against marine litter are supposed to be exported to emerging countries anyway to help them with the plastic flood. Just we havefinancial and political opportunities , the Fight problem. In addition, a lower proportion of plastic consumption does not justify continuing to use the environmentally harmful material.

"It's only one straw!" said 8 billion peoplee)

 

The less plastic waste is produced and thrown away, the better. it is important, that every single one contributes to it.

MYTH 2: "RECYCLING WORKS IN GERMANY, THEREFORE WE CAN USE PLASTIC PRODUCTS WITH A GOOD CONSCIENCE."


MYTH 2: "RECYCLING WORKS IN GERMANY, THEREFORE WE CAN USE PLASTIC PRODUCTS WITH A GOOD CONSCIENCE."

Not even the best recycling system can solve the problemincreasing amount of waste in Germany to solve. In a global comparison, Germany stands up 4th place in the ranking of the largest waste producers 127,800 tons Garbage per day . The resource consumption is far too high. This is exactly where you should start to avoid creating huge amounts of garbage. But also ours highly praised recycling rates may be questioned at this point. The quotas primarily consider what and how much goes into the recycling plants. But what they do with the garbage and how efficiently it works is irrelevant for the statistics. Less than half of all plastic waste is recycled, the rest is burned . As a specific example, mechanical-biological treatment systems can be considered, which separate household waste, for example. However, these plants mainly recover metals. Plastic or paper contained in household waste is often so contaminated that it can only be used as fuel. But this amount is also part of the official recycling quota because it goes through a recycling facility. That is exactly what awakensa wrong impression of our recycling processes.

Not even the best recycling system can solve the problemincreasing amount of waste in Germany to solve. Only Denmark and Switzerland produce even more in a European comparison. Every year in Germany it is 220 kilograms per capita. The resource consumption is far too high. This is exactly where you should start to avoid creating huge amounts of garbage. But our highly praised recycling quotas may also be questioned at this point. The quotas primarily consider what and how much goes into the recycling plants. But what they do with the garbage and how efficiently it works is irrelevant for the statistics. Less than half of the plastic waste is recycled, the rest is incinerated. As a specific example, mechanical-biological treatment systems can be considered, which separate household waste, for example. However, these plants mainly recover metals. Plastic or paper contained in household waste is often so contaminated that it can only be used as fuel. But this amount is also part of the official recycling quota because it goes through a recycling facility. That is exactly what awakensa wrong impression of our recycling processes.

MYTH 3: "THE LCA OF GLASS BOTTLES IS WORSE THAN PLASTIC BOTTLES."

In fact, there has been a problem with the life cycle assessment of glass bottles: many water brands have a source and from there transport their water hundreds of kilometers to their destinations. This increases the CO2 emissions and contributes to a poorer ecological balance. But basically the glass bottle is the reusable product more environmentally friendly variant . It would therefore make more sense to start directly at the source of the problem and not at the point where it is actually already going wrong. Our mobility has so far been based on fossil fuel conditions, but is changing. In the medium term, transport will be electric and to that extent the Co2 footprint for mobility inevitably sink. This is exactly the point at which greater investment should be made so that mobility does not ruin the success of the glass bottle. Simply because plastic is made from fossil raw materials, the possibility of its use is finite. In this respect, it makes sense to work towards using alternatives as quickly as possible. It cannot be a solution to rely on an environmentally harmful product such as the plastic bottle only because it is not progressing quickly enough in the area of sustainable mobility.

MYTH 4: "MICROPLASTICS
IS NOT HEALTH
HARMFUL."

Everyone is talking about microplastics. And not just literally. It all started with the findings in fish that ingest the microplastics from the polluted seas. Microplastics have long been found everywhere: In Drinking water , in Land animals and now even in the human body . The problem: Due to the lack of experience with microplastics, there are still no official limit values. Currently, the measurements are often still below the limit values that are set for comparable pollutants. In addition, research on microplastics is still in its infancy. Since it has only now been possible to prove findings in animals and humans, it is not yet possible to make a statement about how the plastic will affect our organism in the long term. But that's no reason to sit back, because plastic consumption is increasing rapidly around the world. This inevitably increases the microplastic content in our nutrition and thus rise in our body. At the moment, the measured values still seem to be tolerable. But if the plastic consumption remains the same or even increases, these values will eventually increase harmful level increase. The first alarm signals are already there, such as the phenomenon of Chalk teeth suspected to be caused by plasticizers found in plastic. 

MYTH 4: "MICROPLASTICS
IS NOT HEALTH
HARMFUL."

Everyone is talking about microplastics. And not just literally. It all started with the findings in fish that ingest the microplastics from the polluted seas. Microplastics have long been found everywhere: in drinking water, in land animals and now even in the human body. The problem: Due to the lack of experience with microplastics, there are still no official limit values. Currently, the measurements are often still below the limit values that are set for comparable pollutants. In addition, research on microplastics is still in its infancy. Since it has only now been possible to prove findings in animals and humans, it is not yet possible to make a statement about how the plastic will affect our organism in the long term. But that's no reason to sit back, because plastic consumption is increasing rapidly around the world. This will inevitably increase the proportion of microplastics in our diet and thus in our body. At the moment, the measured values still seem to be tolerable. But if the plastic consumption remains the same or even increases, these values will eventually rise to a level that is harmful to health. The first alarm signals are already there, such as the phenomenon of chalk teeth, which is believed to be triggered by plasticizers contained in plastic. 

SUMMARY

 

In summary, it becomes clear that the arguments in favor of plastic often appear very meaningful and sometimes give the impression that the negative headlines about the plastic flood are exaggerated. The research has still not reached its goal and some facts relating to the subject of plastic, for example microplastics, have not yet been fully clarified. What is certain, however, is that plastic, while a practical all-purpose material, is one on many levelse proven danger For Man, animal and nature represents. Every piece of plastic that is not and is not in demand, every plastic packaging that is replaced by sustainable packaging and every glass bottle that is filled instead of a PET disposable bottle, will contribute to this in the long term Plastic madness bit by bit to counteract . So think about the next time you shop Jute bags , take one HALM for restaurants that only have plastic straws and visits one more often Unpacked . Because only together we can reduce our high plastic consumption.

 


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