Garbage is a resource. Circular economy is a model of production and consumption that minimises waste. Much of the garbage is a valuable raw material, which can reused in the production process or utilized in some other way.
We got used to these mantras, but does everyone who
recites them truly understand what they mean…
Recycling solves part of the waste issue, but it is
far from solving the whole problem. If it was so easy and profitable, the
European Union would not have been sending hundreds of thousands of tons of
plastic waste to China for years. In order for economies to grow, consumption
continues to be encouraged. Lightweight plastic packages are convenient, and
the West found a way to save itself from garbage by transporting most of it to
another continent. But China has polluted its environment and from 1st January
2018 it banned the import of plastic waste and more than 20 other materials. This would probably change the whole world model of
processing reusable ingredients. The Beijing measure is an alarm for the
developed world that it is time to act on its own claim that garbage is a
resource and to start managing it in a new way.
By Type and Colour
When it comes to recycling plastic, it is
an issue when there are labels, adhesives and paint on the packages and when
the bottles are not clean. More and more, plastic enters all areas of
production and there are ever more types of plastic waste that have to be
sorted properly; but for the time being, only part of it can be utilised. The recycling
of metal is handled most efficiently. Metal and glass are completely processed.
The problem with glass was that it had to be sorted by colour, but now, there are separating installations that sort and
recycle it by three colours - white, green and brown. Ecopack has this plant near
the village of Ravno Pole. The end recycled product can be used in production.
Who Pays the Price
Undoubtedly, plastic packages are
preferred due to their convenience and low price, but the full cost of handling
the consequences is not included in the final product price. Recycling does provide
valuable resources for reuse and instead of polluting nature, we can circularly
process them and have raw materials again. But not everything can be recycled
at this stage. And the process in most cases is not as easy as we would like it
to be. Is everyone well informed how to separate waste so that its processing
is facilitated? In this respect, the authorities and the recycling business are
in debt to society and nature. It is time to stop sweeping the problem under
the carpet; everyone has to play their role in the long process, including eco
organisations that have to finally assume their real function.
Backward or Forward
Disposable packages were created during
the wars for the needs of the army. Convenience is appreciated. It now seems
unthinkable to go back to the time of reusable ones. As it took 20-30 years for
disposable packages to spread widely, it would probably take just as long to
find and impose new environmentally friendly solutions.
The one who pollutes must pay - we could trust this principle, but collected money have to actually go for waste reclamation and for keeping the environment clean. Nature will be moved neither by our false concern nor the imitation of activity in order to absorb money. The time has come for us to stop treating waste as absolute garbage, which we want to simply get rid of.