Globally countries are imposing a ban on single-use plastic
Single-use plastics have fueled the revolution in commercial and consumer convenience and improved hygiene standards, but also have saturated the world’s coastlines and clogged landfills. Approximately 79% of all plastic ever produced is now in a dump, a landfill or the environment, and only 9% has been recycled. Each year, around 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans. It’s like dumping a rubbish truck full of plastic in the water every single minute. In the US, which accounts for just 4% of the global population, 500 million plastic straws are used every day. The average supermarket plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to break down. It makes you wonder how we’ve gone so long without realising (or caring?) that plastic is having a truly devastating effect on the environment. However, several entities across the world have moved to take action against the rising problem of plastic pollution. About 112 countries, states and cities around the world have already imposed bans on various single-use plastic goods. Of these measures, 57 are national and 25 are in Africa.
Some of the countries with the ban on plastics are as follows:
The world’s harshest plastic ban is imposed by Kenya, wherein anyone who’s found using, producing, or selling a plastic bag faces up to four years in jail, or a $38,000 fine.
In July 2017, Zimbabwe announced a total ban on expanded polystyrene, a styrofoam-like material used for food containers. Those caught violating the ban have to pay a fine of between $30 and $500.
In February 2018, Taiwan announced one of the farthest-reaching bans on plastic in the world, restricting the use of single-use plastic bags, straws, utensils, and cups. The ban, which builds on existing regulations like a recycling programme, and extra charges for plastic bags, should be completely in force by 2030.
On June 2018, Montreal banned single-use plastic bags. Merchants and individuals were given time till 5th June to adapt to the policy, after which a fine between $1000 and $2000 would be imposed on anyone found violating the ban. The city previously used roughly 2 billion plastic bags every year of which just 14% were recycled.
In July 2018, Seattle became the first US city to enact a ban on plastic straws, along with single-use plastic utensils. The ban forced approximately 5000 restaurants and organisations around the city to use reusable and recyclable containers.
South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory and Queensland have state-wide bans on single-use plastic bags. Major Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths also moved to phase out single-use plastic bags by mid-2018. Australia is one of the largest waste producers in the world, second only to the US, with Australians using an estimated 5 billion plastic bags every year before the ban, according to Clean Up Australia.
The German city of Hamburg brought in a fairly niche plastic ban in February 2016 — against non-recyclable plastic coffee pods. Many of the pods can’t be fully recycled, and those that can be recycled consume a lot of energy because of their complicated design. Before the ban, billions of the plastic shells were piling up in landfills each year.
Since 2008, carrying a plastic bag in Rwanda can earn you a jail sentence — although typically offenders receive fines of about $61, according to Plastic Oceans campaign group. The plastic bag ban was just the start for Rwanda, which is now hinting at becoming the world’s first plastic-free nation and planning to become completely sustainable by 2020.
Apart from these, several other countries are taking initiatives towards plastic bans. Recent plastic ban across major cities in India has curbed the use of plastic bags. However, the use of single use containers has not been looked upon seriously yet. Despite such efforts, production and consumption of plastics have continued relentlessly at a rate of 8.3% each year. India still generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste per day while each of the large metro cities generates around 4000 tonnes.
We, at InfinityBox, are working towards replacing these single-use containers with reusable and environment friendly ones. We are on a mission to move towards a Zero waste society. Come, join us!