Since 2018, Shanghai Rendu Ocean Public Interest Development Center has published the Beach Litter Brand Audit Annual Report to summarize the brands of different garbage scattered on the beach and call on enterprises and consumers to better understanding how our production and consumption are influencing the environment.
Break Free from Plastic China and other environmental organizations appeal the listed enterprises should actively shoulder the responsibility of solving environmental pollution and take an instant action to prevent white pollution.
Using single-use plastic products inevitably leads to great pollution to marine ecology.
Almost half of the plastic wastes around the globe is produced after 2000. In 2018, the global plastic output reached 359 million tons, nearly 50 percent of which are disposable plastic packaging. Plastic wastes, particularly unrecyclable plastic films, are easy to flow into the environment in remote areas or regions with poor garbage management.
A mass of plastic garbage emerging into oceans brings a series of problems, such as marine animals eating plastic by mistake, being tangled, and suffocated, endangering the ecology. Marine plastic litter would carry or absorb poisonous materials such as heavy metal and persistent organic pollutants. It is recorded that these poisonous materials have a deadly influence on the marine creature, and may undermine health through accumulation via the food chain.
To reduce plastic flowing into the environment requires enterprises, government, and consumers to work together.
In the samples of marine plastic garbage, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) like beverages and snacks account for the largest proportion. FMCG enterprises rely on disposable plastic to package, the practice which develops under the business model. They use the cheap wrapper, but don’t need to pay for the charges of collecting and dispose of. We have been clearly aware: the massive production of single-use plastics is an irresponsible decision as companies convert the cost of maintaining environment to local communities, and that drives plastic wastes to accumulate in the oceans, streets, rivers, garbage filling land, and soil.
Therefore, we appeal to the fast-moving consumer goods industry which consumes plenty of plastics as packaging, particularly leading giants who have been on the list of beach garbage to make a change,
The specific suggestions are:
1. To put the reduction of single-use plastics as the main target to solve the pollution and formulate quantifiable reduction goals and timetable. Enterprises publish plastic reduction plans, plastic consumption, and recycling condition. Listed companies should actively make the environmental social responsibility available to the public, thus allowing for social supervision.
2. To avoid using problematic plastic wrappings, such as polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene since these materials contain poisonous components with high pollution risks and low recycling value. Enterprises should try to stop produce and use small plastic packaging or items that cannot be easily recycled, for instance, small packaging food, toiletries, and strews. These items are easy to flow into the natural environment because of its tiny volume.
3. To positively invest recyclable packaging or develop a new product delivery system to replace the original model which largely depends on single-use plastic packaging, offering a sustainable wrapping method to customers.
4. Enterprises should improve the recycling rate if there is no way to completely avoid using single-use plastic products, participate in the establishment of a producer-responsible system, and improve the resource recycling system with government and other social sectors.
5. To be cautious about adopting biodegradable plastics as a solution. Firstly, biodegradable plastic products are still single-use, and massive consumption will definitely accelerate the problem of resource degradation. Secondly, the disposal of biodegradable plastics has not yet been achievable domestically. The promotion of these products will influence recycling quality. Moreover, the materials cannot be guaranteed to fully degrade.
As for consumers, we can start with ourselves, reducing the consumption of single-use plastic, and choosing reusable products. Consumers can fit plastic reduction into daily life by practicing garbage classification, and don’t litter. Everyone can play the supervisory role to promote enterprises to start environmental protection campaigns.
Opinions of National Development and Reform Commission on Intensifying the Improvement of Plastic Pollution Control published in this January put forward with the principle of developing green, environmental, economical plastic products and alternatives, and switching to the new mode which is conducive to well-regulated recycling and cyclic utilization and plastic pollution reduction. Relevant governmental departments should enhance garbage management to prevent plastic waste into the environment, and also promote the formulation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) mechanism to lead enterprises to take part in the processing step. It is also suggested to impose environment tax on companies that consume considerable plastic packaging.
We will urge FMCG enterprises who consume a large number of plastic wrappings to abolish the product delivery modes which are posing threats to both environment and health, and change to adopt sustainable production patterns, in order to lead the green and environmental-friendly consumption and tackle the plastic pollution.
China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF)
Pudong Lefen Environmental Protection Promotion Center
Chengdu Roots and Shoots
Shenzhen Zero Waste
BlueRibbon Ocean Conservation Association
Break Free from Plastic China
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