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Help! We're Drowned In The Plastic Ocean Again
Time: 2020-8-31 16:16:49 Source:绿凯思科GETRECYCLING Author:GET营销中心 Hits:2

Although efforts to reduce or ban the use of disposable plastic products have been retrogressed for several years due to a new outbreak, the use of takeout containers and disposable masks cannot be simply blamed.


On August 17, analysts at Jefferies, an investment bank, pointed out in a report that the outbreak had triggered a series of changes: raw plastics became cheaper after the rapid drop in oil prices, losses suffered by waste management companies and municipal authorities, as well as the postponement of local bans and restrictions, which affected the ability to abolish plastic waste.


A report entitled "plastic ocean" states that "bans and corresponding taxes have regressed before the outbreak, and physical and chemical recycling activities have also decreased. Consumers are also less willing to use disposable plastic products as much as possible because they are worried about virus infection. "




The most surprising thing, analysts found, is that ordinary people's consumption of plastic products may not be the root cause of the problem.


Jefferies analysts said that food and beverage takeout, supermarket Carnival shopping and disposable masks do generate a lot of plastic waste, but most (or even all) of the increase is offset by lower plastic use in other areas of the epidemic, such as industrial and commercial use of plastic due to business decline.


The report also found that the use of personal protective equipment in the United States has brought a new wave of plastic waste. Protective equipment is mainly made of plastic fiber and cannot be recycled. However, due to the delay of operation and the decrease of emergency cases, other types of medical waste have decreased, which can basically offset each other.


But the macro situation is still worrying. The outbreak has hit companies that collect and dispose of plastic waste for recycling. Despite widespread consumer resistance to plastics, policy makers have shelved laws that restrict the use of plastics because other challenges are more pressing. Another challenge is how to improve the economic feasibility of recycling plastics, especially during the outbreak.


"Even in developed countries, standards for waste disposal are falling," the report said. The new epidemic situation has a significant impact on the field of waste treatment, especially the recycling industry. Enterprises are impacted by many factors, including personnel restrictions, forced closures, budget cuts, strict supervision, low oil prices and declining demand


The sharp fall in oil prices, as well as the outbreak of the global epidemic and the ensuing general blockade and financial crisis, have affected air travel and industrial activities. The price of newly produced plastics, also known as "raw" plastics, has fallen because the raw materials are petrochemical products produced with petroleum products. The report points out that due to the fixed cost of recycled plastics, the cost of recycled plastics is higher than that of new plastics when oil prices fall, and there is no economic benefit. Oil and gas companies are also increasing investment in petrochemical products processing, which may aggravate the cost gap.


Local issues


The new outbreak has affected not only waste management companies, but also cities and regions that employ them, as well as waste collection. Many parts of the United States have cut or eliminated recycling programs, especially after China and other countries have restricted or banned the import of foreign waste.


Now it seems that the trends will continue. After the impact of public finance, garbage recovery projects have become very fragile. The transformation from commercial waste to residential waste also poses a challenge to logistics, and people are worried that recycling projects may spread virus. Although the United States has announced new policies on waste recycling, such as the one-off waste tax, Denver and Craig, the United States has announced that it will postpone the use of waste, including the one-off waste tax in Denver and other projects. Companies such as target and whole foods are doing their best to limit or ban disposable cups, bags or other items. However, given the current new reality, the relevant measures may not be enough.


Moreover, analysts said that a large number of newly used personal protective equipment not only can not be recycled, but also pollute waste, which has become the main source of public waste.


The effect of limiting plastic hysteresis is also obvious. According to a joint study released in July by British researchers, at the current "as usual" rate, the rate at which plastics enter the global oceans will triple by 2040.

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