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Thread: A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

  1. #1
    Elite member Coriolan's Avatar
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    A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

    A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

    "A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

    New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more than half a trillion of which will be sold annually by the end of the decade.

    The demand, equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being bought every second, is driven by an apparently insatiable desire for bottled water and the spread of a western, urbanised “on the go” culture to China and the Asia Pacific region.

    More than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300bn a decade ago. If placed end to end, they would extend more than halfway to the sun. By 2021 this will increase to 583.3bn, according to the most up-to-date estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report."

    Why aren't people talking more about this? We hear about climate change all the time, but that's the first time I come across the humongous problem of unrecycled plastic bottles. It's very hard to understand how things got so out of hand for people like me who couldn't imagine ever throwing away a PET bottle anywhere else than in a designated recycling bin. It's time to educate the rest of the world? Do you people always recycle?

  2. #2
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    It's a very sorry state of affairs. Unfortunately the predictions are clear and it's only going to get worse in the years to come. There is an easy solution: more systematic recycling. But it takes a responsible, eco-conscious population to recycle. At present the only countries where people recycle over 50% of waste are just Germany, the block of countries around it (Benelux, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia), Sweden and South Korea. The USA stand at a paltry 34%, but it's still better than Canada (27%), Australia (30%). Baltic and Balkans countries hardly recycle at all.

    Recycling rates vary depending on the source, but not by much.

    OECD/Forbes (2013)

    Planet Aid (2013)

    Is it really possible that New Zealand, one of the most eco-friendly countries on Earth for renewable energy, doesn't recycle at all?

    Japan stands at a shameful 20% (average of 19% and 21% in sources below) for a country with that level of development. It's all the more surprising that Japanese people are extremely conscientious and well organised. When I was living in Tokyo, I heard many times that people regularly check on their neighbours's rubbish bags to see if they recycle properly. I even heard Japanese people boast that they were among the best recyclers in the world. Considering that Germans and South Koreans, who have a similar character, top the list of recyclers, it's really odd that the Japanese should rank so low.

    Recycling in the EU

    Eurostat (2012)

    Here are European recycling rates on a map.

    And here are the European stats on plastic bottle recycling only. The ranking is almost identical, except for the UK which does very badly in this category, while Romania gets a much better score (higher than the UK!).

    Malta, Greece and Cyprus are the least eco-conscious countries in the EU.

    France and Finland don't rank well at all considering their level of development. If you don't count the energy recovery rate (in orange), they only recycle only 25% of their plastic bottles, less than any EU country except Malta!

    Another interesting point, landfills are practically inexistant in Germanic countries (except the UK where almost half of all bottles end up in landfills).
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  3. #3
    Elite member Dagne's Avatar
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    Yes, it is a serious problem, but things could be changed! Lithuania is still lacking behind (40% overall recycling instead of targeted 55% for 2016) but just during one year 2016 after the introduction of new recycling machines for plastic bottles and tin cans, 74% of the overall number of plastic bottles on the market are being recycled now. One good promotion campaign ( showing a border collie in a leading role) plus 10 cents deposit on all plastic bottles can drastically change the situation.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Yetos's Avatar
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    Strange but true
    I believe that Greece must first in plastic bottle cap recycling.

    a social activism that started in Greece before ten years from the Pella in Makedonia (Giannitsa)
    made many Greeks to chose the recycling bottles,
    and recycle the caps.


    cause the bottle is made by PET 1

    which is NOT a noble plastic,
    can be used only once (nor predicted for many uses since may gather bacteria at its surface)

    on the other hand the plastic cap of the bottle is made by

    that is a NOBLE and healthy plastic
    that can recycle many times and safety
    so recycling this you earn more.

    The Social action started from schools and a company that uses bottles for water and refreshment
    as a reward they gave chairs for traffic accidents kids, and strange rare diseases suffering people.

    the act reach many areas.
    fantastic move,

    NOW even I drop the battle to carbage tins
    BUT i keep the cap to put it in a special of the many gathering places,

    the action entered even police stations military camps schools, big commercial centers,
    those who understand helped a lot,
    those who are always 'who cares' keep polute and pump up the volume of carbage

    a gathering place

    and remember most of plastic caps help as long as they are from HDPE

    550 water caps = 1 kilo
    550 000 water caps = 1 tone = 1 wheel chair estimated recycling value around 180-250 E

    I do not know about other areas in Greece, but around central Makedonia.
    even in Cafe shops you can save/recycle a plastic cap and help a human,

    Every year around 10 wheel chairs are bought by plastic caps.

    so maybe we are the last in bottle recycling
    But I believe we are the best and maybe the top at bottle cap recycling

    We are eclectic even when we recycle
    Last edited by Yetos; 29-06-17 at 17:39.

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  5. #5
    Advisor LeBrok's Avatar
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    Plastic bottles are not big long term problem. They are easy to pick up and recycle or dispose. Now, sewer and industrial toxic waste flowing into the oceans is most dangerous to environment and almost impossible to clean.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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