Sunday July 22, 2018
Home Lead Story Scientists: C...

Scientists: China’s Ban Causes Plastic To Pile Up, Nations Must Reduce Usage

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances

0
//
12
Scientists: China's Ban Causes Plastic To Pile Up, Nations Must Reduce Usage
Scientists: China's Ban Causes Plastic To Pile Up, Nations Must Reduce Usage, Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

China’s decision to stop accepting plastic waste from other countries is causing plastic to pile up around the globe, and wealthy countries must find a way to slow the accumulation of one of the most ubiquitous materials on the planet, a group of scientists said.

The scientists sought to quantify the impact of the Chinese import ban on the worldwide trade in plastic waste, and found that other nations might need to find a home for more than 122 million tons (110 million metric tons) of plastic by 2030. The ban went into effect Dec. 31, 2017, and the stockpiling trend figures to worsen, the scientists said.

Wealthy countries such as the United States, Japan and Germany have long sent their plastic recyclables to China, and the country doesn’t want to be the world’s dumping ground for plastic anymore. The study found China has taken more than 116 million tons (105 million metric tons) of the material since 1992, the equivalent of the weight of more than 300 Empire State Buildings.

The change is forcing countries to rethink how they deal with plastic waste. They need to be more selective about what they choose to recycle, and more fastidious about reusing plastics, said Amy Brooks, first author on the study and a doctoral student in engineering at the University of Georgia. In the meantime, Brooks said, more plastic waste is likely to get incinerated or sent to landfills.

“This is a wake-up call. Historically, we’ve been depending on China to take in this recycled waste and now they are saying no,” she said. “That waste has to be managed, and we have to manage it properly.”

plastic cups
plastic cups, Pixabay

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. Using United Nations data, it found that China has dwarfed all other plastics importers, accounting for about 45 percent of the world’s plastic waste since 1992. The ban is part of a larger crackdown on foreign garbage, which is viewed as a threat to health and environment.

Some countries that have seen an increase in plastic waste imports since China’s ban — such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia — are already looking to enforce bans of their own because they are quickly becoming overburdened, Brooks said.

The study illustrates that plastic, which has a wide array of uses and formulations, is more difficult to recycle than other materials, such as glass and aluminum, said Sherri Mason, who was not involved in the study and is the chair of the geology and environmental sciences department at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Many consumers attempt to recycle plastic products that can’t ultimately be recycled, Mason said. One solution could be to simplify the variety of plastics used to make products, she said.
“We have to confront this material and our use of it, because so much of it is single use disposable plastic and this is a material that doesn’t go away,” Mason said. “It doesn’t return to the planet the way other materials do.”

The plastics import ban has attracted the attention of the U.S. recycling industry. The National Recycling Coalition said in a statement in mid-May that it must “fundamentally shift how we speak to the public” and “how we collect and process” recyclables.

Also read: A Secret Ingredient Of Your Favorite Sushi: Microplastic

“We need to look at new uses for these materials,” said Marjorie Griek, the coalition’s executive director. “And how do you get manufacturers to design a product that is more easily recyclable.” (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Apple Launches a $300 Million Fund to Bring Clean Energy to China

In September 2016, Apple opened its first China R&D centre in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as "China's Silicon Valley"

0
The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said.
The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said. Pixabay

Amid heightened trade tensions between the US and China, tech giant Apple has joined hands with its suppliers to launch a $300 million clean energy fund in China.

The “China Clean Energy Fund” will invest in and develop clean-energy projects totalling more than 1 gigawatt of renewable energy in China, the equivalent of powering nearly 1 million homes, Apple said in a statement on Thursday.

“At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

The Cupertino, California-headquartered tech giant said 10 of its initial suppliers have come forward to jointly invest in the nearly $300 million fund over the next four years.

“We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet,” Jackson said.

apple
Apple in 2017 announced it would invest nearly $500 million in China to build two new R&D centres in Shanghai and Suzhou. Pixabay

By virtue of its size and scale, the China Clean Energy Fund will give its participants the advantage of greater purchasing power and the ability to attain more attractive and diverse clean energy solutions.

The China Clean Energy Fund will be managed through a third party, DWS Group, which specialises in sustainable investments and will also invest in the fund, Apple said.

Also Read: Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Faster Performance And New Features for Pros

The announcement to invest in the clean energy fund in China follows Apple’s announcement earlier in 2018 that its global facilities are powered by 100 per cent clean energy and the launch of its Supplier Clean Energy Programme in 2015.

Apple in 2017 announced it would invest nearly $500 million in China to build two new R&D centres in Shanghai and Suzhou.

In September 2016, Apple opened its first China R&D centre in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, often referred to as “China’s Silicon Valley”. (IANS)