Project Studies 2020-09-23
Author: Damon C.H. Tsai,
Consultant, Plastic Industry Development Center, Quality Environment Safety Dept.
Banner design: Shang-Yu Liu
Translator: Derek Chang
According to a study by the World Economic Forum (WWF), about 8 million tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year, which is equivalent to dumping a truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute. The report released by the United Nations on World Environment Day in 2018 also pointed out that the whole world produces 9 billion tons of plastic every year, but the recycling ratio is only 9%. UN Secretary General António Guterres said that there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050. Such serious pollution problem has dramatically impacted the global environment. Although human beings are not the first to suffer from the danger, the marine creatures that eat plastic waste become our meals through food chain, as well as the changes of marine biodiversity and ecology. The human beings will pay very painful cost finally.
In order to solve the global common problem of ocean plastic waste pollution, both the official and private sectors of the countries all over the world take the marine actions actively, including restrictions of plastics and the promotions of non-plastic alternative materials. For example, India announced that it would ban all disposable plastics by 2022, while the United Kingdom proposed a 25-year plastic reduction plan to achieve the phased goal of completely banning the use of non-essential plastic products. Taiwan EPA has also launched a number of plastic reduction policies. In addition to the announcement of completely banning disposable plastic products such as shopping plastic bags, disposable tableware and take-away beverage cups by 2030, the large chain restaurants will also be restricted to the use of plastic straws in 2019. The goal is to become a "non-plastic ocean" country. In addition to the government restrictions, many large chain corporations have also proposed sustainable goals such as product upgrading or replacement so as to lead the reduction of plastic products production and use.
However, the plastic restriction needs long and mid-term resistance and innovation. Relying on industrial upgrading, policy support and changes in consumer habits which could not see the effect immediately. There are other options in addition to the ban on production and use of plastic products. For example, establish the product and supply cycle from the industrial chain, recycle and reproduce in the product waste phase will not increase the waste output and also reduce the resource loss and cost of raw material. This is the concept of "circular economy", which is hotly discussed domestic and abroad.
Parley For the Ocean, a marine environmental organization abroad, is committed to preventing plastic waste into the ocean. It has launched a new path for the application of ocean plastic waste through A.I.R. action strategy. In recent years, the organization cooperates with a well-known European sport brand to launch the “Ocean Waste Recycled Running Shoes”. The product is positioned at a price higher than normal product and million pairs of shoes were sold in a short period of time, letting the world understand the unlimited business opportunity of the ocean plastic waste.
Avoid- Avoid using disposable plastic bag and gradually reduce the use of plastic raw material.
Intercept- Prevent plastic waste into the ocean.
Redesign- Adopt environment friendly remanufacture method for material and product.
Parley For the Ocean - A.I.R.
Plastics Industry Development Center (PIDC), located in the Taichung Industrial Park of Taiwan, has R&D team of polymer, chemical and composite material and corporate consulting team. Over the past 25 years, PIDC has been actively working on the technical upgrading and application of plastic recycled materials, such as the recycle and reuse of waste fish nets. From the cleaning, cutting, melting and remanufacturing, PIDC has successfully assisted the development of waste fishing net backpacks, ocean waste sport glasses, PET bottles remanufactured sport wears, computer bags and mobile phone bags.
Ocean plastic waste could not provide large quantities for regular production because its quality diversifies and source is unstable. However, Taiwanese enterprises have manufacture ability and the industry is also complete. These factors are more suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises with flexible manufacturing patterns to respond quickly. PIDC established the "Ocean Plastic Coalition" on the day of World Earth Day in 2018. The purpose is to link the up and down stream of the industry and convert the ocean plastic waste into the customer product with commercial value. It is hoped that through the promotion of Legal Foundation to drive the ocean plastic waste recycle with economic incentives. It is also hoped that through the power of different industry alliances and business opportunities to protect the marine ecology and to create a win-win situation for the environment and the economy.
Ocean Plastic Coalition (OPC)