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Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution

Context: –  Only 9% of annual plastic waste recycled and around 85% of plastic packaging worldwide ends up in landfills. The United States is by far the world’s biggest plastics polluter, but only around 5% of over 50 million tons of plastic waste produced by households in 2021 in the US was recycled.Plastic Pollution

  • Plastics are made from natural materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and crude oil through a polymerisation or polycondensation process.
  • The primary material in plastic manufacturing, oil or gas are a growing source of the carbon pollution fuelling climate change.
  • Grades of Plastic – Most plastic packaging is produced from 7 grades of plastic.
  • These 7 grades of plastic are largely incompatible with each other, and are costly to sort for recycling.
  • PET or Polyethylene terephthalate (number 1) is the world’s most common plastic.
  • PET is the most recyclable plastic and there is a strong market for its by-product used to make drink bottles, food containers or fibers for clothes.
  • The high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) (number 2) is the second most common plastic.
  • The 5 other plastic types (numbered 3-7) might be collected but are rarely recycled because they have a very small market.
  • These hard plastic’s value of the raw material is lower than the cost of recycling.
  • Virgin plastic are often cheaper than recycled material, making plastic recycling is not economical.
  • Plastic Ban – More than 30 African countries have either completely or partially banned lightweight plastic bags.
  • The EU has banned 10 single-use plastics products.
  • India has banned the use of 19 single-use plastic (SUP) items with effect from 1st July 2022.
  • Related Topics – CPCB Report on Plastic Waste Generation, Circular Economy, Plastic rocks

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