Raw Material or Absolute Garbage

Half-measures are no longer working and we have to find an effective solution for utilizing the huge amount of waste we generate

Raw Material or Absolute Garbage
Автор: Yana Koleva

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…

Chinese Syndrome

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.

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