As always the beginning of the solution is education and awareness raising
At a time when we are struggling to reach a point of return to reconvert the critical environmental situation to which mankind has brought planet earth, too many fronts are being opened to solve this problem and these fronts sometimes clash with each other and we lose sight of everything that is left in the way of achieving the objective.
Our reflection on this occasion is on how the elimination of plastic is being translated into the packaging that reaches the consumer.
We are accepting that plastic should be replaced as far as possible by paper or other plastic materials of plant origin. This does not generally consist of reducing waste, but of substituting the origin of the raw material of the waste, which is currently leading to a severe lack of raw material with a consequent increase in price in the face of an excessive demand for these materials (it is as if the world suddenly changed gear to change direction).
This situation means that the product contained in this packaging, which is the real object of the final consumer’s purchase, is burdened by such an increase in price that environmental sustainability becomes unsustainable for the consumer.
If the price increase is due to a material that reduces the impact on the environment, a product of investment in R+D+I, more efficient, etc., it is reasonable that we all assume the cost of improving the environmental situation; but if this cost increase is basically a product of the imbalance between supply and demand:
🔸How far is it reasonable?
🔸How much could we see an increase in the prices of goods due to the repercussions of these increases in packaging materials?
🔸Could there be supply problems in the manufacture of such packaging?
It seems that legislation should provide for less drastic transitions towards the disappearance of plastic, or until the emergence of a more efficient substitute, which does not lead to these imbalances.
If the majority of plastic-based materials are recyclable, let us exploit their recyclability, and in the short and medium term, let us expand our efforts in the following areas:
✔️Continuing to focus on education, awareness and the means for citizens to deposit waste in the appropriate places for subsequent management and recycling.
✔️Supporting education plans for both production and consumption in a responsible manner.
✔️Promote the reduction of packaging use rather than substituting the origin of the raw material.
✔️Focus efforts on those with the highest impact.
Conclusion: a waste product (bag, can, bottle…) does not reach our oceans, mountains, rivers, etc because of the origin of its material, but because of poor management at the end of its useful life.