Recycling Product News Logo

This ad will close in 15 seconds

UK calling for an immediate ban on single use plastics

Fishing line, cigarette butts join single-use bags on list of worst offenders

There are, research by BusinessWaste.co.uk and studies have shown, a number of items whose use - and subsequent disposal - create an unjustifiable amount of plastic waste.
There are, research by BusinessWaste.co.uk and studies have shown, a number of items whose use - and subsequent disposal - create an unjustifiable amount of plastic waste.

According to business waste and recycling experts BusinessWaste.co.uk, it is time for a range of single-use plastics items to be banned immediately from landfill to prevent further damage to the environment in the UK.

While the impact of single-use plastics is being discussed more visibly, actual change has been slow. The introduction of a 5p charge in the UK for plastic bags saw a dramatic reduction in the number of new bags issued by retailers, but still saw 500 million bags issued in six months after the scheme was rolled out - still equivalent to 4,000 tonnes of new plastic.

Similarly, many chain restaurants in the UK have announced their intention to introduce paper, rather than plastic, straws, following the Government's announcement that they would soon ban the sale of plastic straws - but many outlets are still using plastic, 6 months away from the proposed implementation of the ban.

There are, according to research by BusinessWaster.co.uk and various studies, a number of items whose use - and subsequent disposal - create an unjustifiable amount of plastic waste. 

Below, BusinessWaste.co.UK looks at the worst offenders (and some alternatives):

Plastic bags
Plastic bags take 10-20 years to break down in the environment - unlike a water-soluble alternative developed in Chile, which (despite looking identical to a traditional carrier bag) dissolves once stirred into water, removing the need for landfill-clogging plastics.

Disposable nappies
Taking a horrifying 450 years to break down, disposable nappies are one of the worst offenders for single-use plastic - and, as many contain moisture-locking gels, can have other unintended ill-effects once dumped in landfill. However, reusable cloth nappies are now widely available, and have been found to be better for babies' skin - making for happier babies and more eco-friendly parents.

Fishing line
An unusual entry, but with 1.2 million fishing licences issued for 2015-16 (the most recent year for which data is available), there are millions of miles of plastic fishing line (which takes 600 years to break down) bought and discarded each year. Banning this would not stop angling enthusiasts, however - dissolvable fishing line has been developed which eventually breaks down in water, meaning fishing fans can still hook their catch of the day without adding to landfill!

Cigarette butts
By now, everyone is aware that smoking itself is dangerous - and banning it outright would contribute dramatically to an improvement in public health. But plastic cigarette filters, which are discarded once a smoker finishes their crafty smoking break, take between 1 and 5 years to break down in landfill. However, with improved support for smoking cessation and reusable vaping technology available, there are alternatives for those who are addicted and struggling to quit.

Plastic bottles
Taking up to 450 years to break down, plastic bottles are a prime offender - and banning them could see the continued increase of reusable water containers, which have seen a dramatic increase in sales in recent years. Many of these are more durable plastics, or aluminium, and therefore can be used for many years before needing recycling.

Styrofoam
Horrifyingly, there are no indications for how long this widely-used packaging material takes to break down after it has been discarded - causing a potentially massive headache for the environment, as online shopping (and therefore carefully-packed parcels) reaches new heights each year. However, there are eco-friendly alternatives. From bamboo fibre packaging to cardboard ‘packing peanuts', there are a wealth of cushioning options for your brand new TV to be delivered safely.

"We truly believe that there cannot be significant change to the amount of single-use plastic - and other materials - going to landfill without equally significant, stated BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall. "Banning these products might seem like a big step, but as we've shown, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives.

"The best way to encourage businesses to innovate and find better ways of manufacturing is to create demand for it, and that's what we believe a ban on these items would do," continues Hall. "The general public are now more aware of green issues than ever and we feel that there would be widespread support for a bold move towards improving our environmental credentials."

More from Plastics Recycling

On the trail of Canada’s first robotic sorters

The first robotic sorting systems in Canada were installed in the Fall of 2018 by Machinex, at the Sani-Éco MRF in Granby, Quebec, and soon after, at the Chatham-Kent Recycling MRF in Merlin, Ontario. At both facilities Machinex installed a double robotic sorting system, using two SamurAI robotic sorting units placed in succession on a single line. This summer, Machinex installed three more robotic sorting units at a MRF in Toronto and one machine at a MRF in Winnipeg.

K 2019 - STEINERT focused on latest technology for sorting black plastics into pure grades

According to Germany-based Steinert, everyone involved in the plastics industry is concerned with strict legislation and a social sense of responsibility for recovering plastics. Black plastics represent a particular challenge because they cannot be detected with the optical sorting technology found in standard recycling plants. STEINERT technology allows black plastics to be sorted from the general waste stream into pure grades. This enables plastic-processing companies to respond to the new challenges of the circular economy in a cost-effective manner and to be equipped for all the processes involved in plastic recovery and processing in equal measure.

K 2019 - Lindner focuses on system solutions in plastics recycling

Three years have passed since the last K, the world's premier fair for the plastics and rubber industry, and everything has changed. Apart from the media attacks on plastic products, the industry also has other challenges to overcome, such as China's import ban on plastic waste and constantly increasing recycling quotas entering into force. 

Government of Canada invests in solutions to recycle fibreglass boats

The Government of Canada says it is dedicated to protecting Canada's land and waterways from plastic waste and marine litter. According to a recent press release, there are currently few options for recycling and disposing of boats made of fibreglass. As a result, most of these boats end up in a landfill, or worse, abandoned on land or in the water. 

Digitalization to drive circular economy according to German waste association

"Digitalization will significantly change today's circular economy," according to Naemi Denz, the Managing Director of the Waste Treatment and Recycling Association in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Denz says that digitally transmitted information, for example, will ensure that secondary raw materials can be designed with even greater precision. This topic will be among many at IFAT 2020, set for Germany in May, 2020.

Ettlinger to present latest ERF continuous melt filter for plastics recycling at K 2019

Ettlinger, a member of the Maag Group, will take advantage of the upcoming K 2019 in Germany this October to unveil the company's brand new ERF 1000 high performance melt filter for very high throughputs in recycling applications for plastic materials. The company will present it's new technology at Stand A04 in Hall 9, during this year's K 2019, the world's largest trade fair focused on plastics and rubber.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Alliance to End Plastic Waste appoints Jacob Duer as president and CEO

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste has announced that Jacob Duer will serve as the inaugural President and CEO of the newly formed not-for-profit, effective October 1.  Duer joins the AEPW from the United Nations, where he most recently served as a Program Director for the UN Environment Programme.

Renewable energy project aims to raise Santa Barbara diversion rate above 85%

Santa Barbara County, California has buried about 200,000 tons of annual trash in its Tajiguas Landfill since 1967. The landfill was on track to hit its capacity in about six years from now, until the announcement of a renewable energy project that is expected to extend its life by an additional decade. 

Bace granted disruptive patent for IntelliBACE baler and compactor monitoring technology

This past spring, BACE, LLC announced the launch of the first-ever, fully-integrated Ecosystem for balers and compactors, powered by the IntelliBACE Platform. This August, BACE announced issuance by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) of US Patent No.: US 10,377,518, which protects the IntelliBACE Platform.

Dallas Zoo partners with Kimberly-Clark Professional to keep nitrile gloves out of landfills

For staffers at the Dallas Zoo, nitrile gloves from Kimberly-Clark Professional help ensure quality and safety when they care and feed for more than 2,000 animals at the zoo. Through Kimberly-Clark's RightCycle Program, the zoo also has expanded the overall impact of its sustainability efforts by providing a safe, renewable way to dispose of these gloves.

Plastics industry applauds Ontario government move to producer responsibility for packaging, paper and plastics

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and its members applaud today's announcement by the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Ontario's Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, directing the transition of Ontario's Blue Box residential recycling program to a producer responsibility model by 2025. Today, the Blue Box program is funded equally by municipalities and industry. Once the transition is complete, industry will manage 100% of the costs of the Blue Box system alleviating this burden from municipal taxpayers.

An eye on optical sorting

In June, RPN had the opportunity to visit Canada's only turnkey MRF technology provider, Machinex, at the company's headquarters in Plessisville, Quebec. The company is very busy, with multiple MRF design/installation and retrofit projects across Canada currently and through 2020 - which will mark Machinex' 50th anniversary in manufacturing.

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

US objects to new global rules to better control exports of contaminated and mixed plastic waste

The US is the sole member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- the group of 36 developed nations, that has chosen to object to the adoption of recently agreed Basel Convention trade controls to ensure that plastic wastes that are dirty and mixed and thus difficult to recycle can only be exported with the prior permission of the importing country.

CPIA responds to plastic bag ban announcement by Sobeys

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), along with Canada's plastics industry, agrees that plastic and other waste in the environment is unacceptable. Plastic however also delivers significant societal benefits, including energy, greenhouse gas and resource savings, and innovations that improve health care, reduce food spoilage, and improve quality of life.  

Why is the switch to biobased plastics so slow?

Global awareness of climate change and pollution is increasing, but finding ways to halt our dependence on fossil fuels and plastics is proving extremely difficult. One possible solution is to shift away from petrochemicals towards a biobased feedstock to make plastics, but how realistic is this proposal? IDTechEx uncovers the factors influencing adoption of biobased polymers in their report, "Biobased Polymers 2018-2023: A Technology and Market Perspective".

​Republic Services' new Texas MRF putting community education at the forefront

Republic Services is tackling head-on the crisis of overly contaminated waste streams in today's MRFs. With current residential contamination levels reaching as high as 30% or more, it is critical that processors send a clear message to the community about what is accepted in the recycling program, while also employing the most advanced, flexible technology on the market to separate this evolving stream.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Editor in the field: From the factory floor to the MRF – in Quebec

June 12-13, Machinex and the Carton Council of Canada invited Recycling Product News to Quebec. The first stop was a tour of the Machinex manufacturing facility and HQ in Plessisville, about 2 hours East of Montreal. Secondly, the Carton Council of Canada and Machinex hosted customers and press for a tour of Sani-Éco's MRF in Granby, Quebec where Machinex recently installed the company's latest Mach Hyspec optical sorting technology, along with a pair of SamurAI robotic sorting units for handling both cartons and PET/HDPE plastic. 

Mondi introduces recyclable packaging film for fresh and processed food

Flexible food packaging has traditionally presented brand owners with a choice -- either extract the maximum performance parameters or make it fully recyclable. Achieving both goals at once has been almost impossible... until now, according to Mondi, a global leader in sustainable paper and packaging solutions. The company has created a recyclable polypropylene film that is ideal for the thermoforming of flexible films for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and vacuum packaging, which is known for its ability to extend the shelf life of products such as meat and cheese.

California Product Stewardship Council lauds Canadian government initiative on plastics

The California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) shared the above video and the New York Times article below with their members and stakeholders this week, stating: "We wanted to share with you a short yet powerful video and article about the Canadian Prime Minister's announcement that they are taking on plastics, will push forward with Enhanced Producer Responsibility for all plastics, and will put a single-use plastic ban in place by 2021.  We are energized by this video and, with your support, will continue to push California forward as part of this movement.  The time is now!"

​Eco-Products becomes APR Recycling Demand Champion

Eco-Products has announced that it is increasing its use of post-consumer recycled plastic and has become an "APR Recycling Demand Champion." The designation is part of a campaign -- launched by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) in 2017 - to expand market demand for recycled resins and improve recycling in North America. Without companies committing to use post-consumer content in products and packaging, the recycling industry can face challenges in making the economics work. APR Demand Champions are "forward-thinking, proactive organizations (that) are playing a prominent role in expanding the market for mixed residential plastics," according to the APR website

​Provincial waste reduction organizations support Canadian plan to reduce plastic waste

Four of Canada's major provincial waste reduction and recycling organizations (Recycling Council of BC, Recycling Council of Alberta, Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council and Recycling Council of Ontario) have announced their official support for the Government of Canada's announcement regarding plans to reduce Canada's plastic waste, support innovation, and promote the use of affordable and safe alternatives.

One of world’s largest bottle-to-bottle recyclers tackles ocean plastic pollution with ocean-diverted material

As part of its closed-loop philosophy, CarbonLITE Industries, one of the world's largest recyclers and producers of post-consumer PET (polyethylene terephthalate plastic) is launching a new category: 100% post-consumer ocean-diverted plastic. CarbonLITE's newest offering will replace virgin materials for food, beverage, and cosmetic applications.  These products will have the dual benefit of reducing ocean plastics and the amount of virgin material produced. 

Two Ontario municipalities launch residential polystyrene recycling thanks to municipal/industry partnership

Polystyrene foam recycling has returned to the Towns of Brockton and Hanover, as of the end of May 2019. The Chair of Brockton's Environmental Advisory Committee, Bruce Davidson, anticipates that residents have been saving foam packaging for a while in the hopes that recycling opportunities would resume. 

California assembly approves ambitious measure to cut packaging and plastic waste by 75 percent

Acknowledging the worldwide environmental devastation and health problems wrought by plastic and non-recycled trash, both houses of the California State Legislature have now approved identical first-of-their-kind measures to dramatically reduce plastic and packaging waste and jumpstart the in-state clean recycling economy.

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more