The Plastic in Packaging will soon be a critical Problem!! - Seeker's Thoughts

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The Plastic in Packaging will soon be a critical Problem!!

Plastic waste has increased the burden on the entire earth to the point that oceans, soil, air, and including human everything is under some kind of threat. 

Recovering materials from garbage should be a high priority, considering that India is the third highest consumer of materials after China and the U.S.

The plastic since its origin become one among the most ‘used’ material on the earth. Big corporates and organizations have been using plastic to wrap products and that leads to huge waste. 

Recycling is the only solution we have to tackle the menace of plastic. Therefore, most countries have their rules – for Example India has Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR).

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Extended Producer responsibility is a practice and a policy approach in which producers take responsibilities for the management of disposal of products they produce those products that are designated as no longer useful by consumers.

Responsibility for disposal may be fiscal, physical or combination of the two. 

Extended Producer Responsibility in Waste Management

In the field of waste management, extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a strategy to add all of the environmental costs associated with a product throughout the product life cycle to the market price of that product.

For example, plastic has caused devastating effect yet many big giant firms like Amazon, Flipkart, Patanjali, and Britannia deliver in plastic yet failed to take responsibility for their plastic waste.

Therefore, it could be understood that the EPR legislation is needed to drive force to tackle the waste materials.

In India, The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has put 52 producers, brand owners, and importers, including big online retailers such as Amazon and Flipkart, and companies such as Patanjali Ayurved and Britannia, on notice, for failing to take responsibility for their plastic waste.

The Need for Reducing Plastic Footprints.

These and other entities with a large plastic footprint need to respond with alacrity. It is eight years since the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was incorporated into the Plastic Waste Management Rules, but municipal and pollution control authorities have failed to persuade commercial giants to put in place a system to collect and process the waste. 

Mountains of garbage with a heavy plastic load have been growing in suburban landfills, out of sight of city dwellers. For example – Ghazipur. There are found the plastic mountains which are filled with the garbage.

With the rising demands of the product the demand for plastic packaging increases, however, some business and people consider the plastic less expensive, even though it has a higher environmental cost, where the entire planet is going to be inhabitable and harsh for living.

The waste from Plastic will certainly increase with the pace of consumption.

The Opportunity in the Garbage

The retail sector expects e-commerce to grow from about $38.5 billion-equivalent in 2017 to $200 billion by 2026.

Given the role played by packaging, the waste management problem is likely to become alarming. 

There is also a big opportunity here, which the trade, municipal governments, and pollution control authorities need to see. 

The two prongs of the solution are packaging innovation that reduces its use by using alternatives and upscaling waste segregation, collection, and transmission.

Plastics may be less expensive than other inputs in manufacturing, but recycling them into new products extends their life and provides a substitute for virgin material.

 Keeping them out of the environment reduces clean-up and pollution costs.

The Lethargic Attitude of Municipality and Waste Collection Agencies has to be changed.

Municipal and Pollution Control authorities fail the most certainly to tackle the waste, that is why the cities have been piling up with the waste mountains. 
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Recycle waste is considered useless as the concept of the circular economy has not been accepted into practice yet.

The waste when not treated is often mixed with other articles.

Unfortunately, in spite of legal requirements, municipal and pollution control authorities fail to see this and mostly pursue business-as-usual waste management methods.

Recyclable waste is rendered useless when it gets mixed with other articles.

Online retailers should feel compelled to take back the thousands of polybags, plastic envelopes and air pillows used to cushion articles inside cardboard boxes under EPR.

There could be a possible solution that waste cooperatives, waste pickers can be formed and recruited.

The corporates can even involve youth and college students in Plastic Waste Picking Assignments. This will further reduce the size of mountains of garbage with a heavy plastic load have been growing in suburban landfills, out of sight of city dwellers.

 Awareness campaigns are a constant need

There has to be endless awareness campaign until people rise from slumber to bring owns shopping bags the usefulness of these thin and easily ripped bags are extremely limited. On an individual level, with the help of certain influencers, people should stop buying plastic water bottles. 

Same goes with straw use, there needs to be an attitude shift to a say no to straws plastic straws. 

Technological shift

There is a need to switch from, disposable diapers to the cloth. Or diaper companies should use material which can be degraded easily in an environment without polluting it.

The majority of plastic waste is generated in the kitchen; there can be glass containers/ metal containers at place of the plastic one.

Addressing the issue of Waste Plastic

Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics, and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms remains unaddressed.
Municipal Authorities should change working

It will take a paradigm shift in the manner in which waste is collected and handled by municipal authorities to change this.

It is evident that the crisis is going to be worse if steps are not taken at the right time as the retail sector will grow more.

The Packaging and Waste Management should be seen as more like an opportunity for municipal government and pollution control authorities.

Some innovative technologies can also reduce the waste segregation.   

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