Today the problem of accumulation of plastic trash worries many countries. In Europe, most recently ran a public consultation on the use of plastic bags in the EU. Most of the 15,000 people who took part in the discussion of the pressing problems of humanity in favor of a complete ban on plastic. And, despite the fact that to abandon the full use of plastic bags is difficult, yet many countries have opted for a complete rejection of this environmentally unfriendly packaging. Others yet are looking for other ways to solve this problem …
According to recent studies, every year in the EU is used by about 800 thousand tons of disposable plastic bags. In 2010, the average person in the EU has used an average 191 plastic bag, and only 11 packages of this number are recycled after use. Overall, the European landfill annually thrown about 4 billion plastic bags. Such data are the European Commission today.
European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said that plastic bags litter the landscape, are a direct threat to the wild, and are accumulated in the form of "plastic soup" in the oceans. The problem of plastic bags should be solved, especially in those countries where this is not yet conceived at the state level …
However, many countries have a ban on plastic bags. The first country in Europe to have been banned non-degradable plastic bags, was Italy. Since January 1, 2011 there came into force a ban, according to which stores will offer customers only bags made of cloth, bags of paper or of materials that are recyclable.
The use of thin plastic bags banned in many countries, such as China, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Taiwan and Bangladesh. By the way, in Bangladesh, the threat posed by plastic bags, they saw in the fact that the plastic debris littering the gutter system, causing severe flooding in the country, and often with loss of life …
The ban on the use of absolutely all types of plastic bags introduced in Rwanda, Tanzania and Somalia.
The next year, ready to ban all non-degradable bags in the United Arab Emirates. There, in addition to damage to the environment, plastic bags kill camels. Animals often swallow plastic and die a painful death.
In the U.S., can not come to a definite opinion about the ban of plastic bags. Uncertainty is also made by local and federal laws. For example, in Los Angeles, there is no prohibition on the use of plastic bags, and in Los Angeles County this ban is in effect.
Ireland has decided to deal with plastic waste a little different. There, in 2002 introduced a tax on plastic bags at 15 cents. As it turned out, this measure was very effective: a year of plastic waste was reduced by 95%, and 90% of the customers voluntarily switched to long-lasting environmental packages and bags. When, in 2007, the number of plastic bags used per capita Ireland increased slightly, the government increased the tax to 22 cents. The money received from tax for plastic bags, transferred to the Environment Fund and are used to reduce waste and to explore new ways of recycling.
A successful example of Iceland since the EU took advantage of such countries as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Norway. Most recently, a tax on plastic bags introduced Wales (6 cents). The following year, a tax on plastic bags is planning Northern Ireland.
Experts notice to refuse plastic bags, citizens must use other types of bags, which sometimes are also not harmless. British researchers conducted a study and found that the long-lasting bags should be used for at least a few times to cause less harm to nature than the standard applied to plastic bags.
Scientists from the British Agency for the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the paper bag should be used at least three times. That compensate for the amount of carbon used in its production and transportation. Tight plastic bag, according to these estimates should be used four times and the cotton bag — at least 131 times, experts say.
As the environmentalists, whatever type of package is not used, the main thing to reduce impacts on the environment — use the maximum amount of time that will proportionally reduce the carbon footprint in the atmosphere.
Today in Europe are mainly two types of biodegradable bags. Conventional biodegradable bags made from corn to degrade in a landfill, but they emit into the atmosphere methane gas that environmentalists call the main culprit of global warming on the planet. Oxo-biodegradable bags degrade only when in contact with air or water. Paper bags are very popular in the U.S., as it turned out, emit relatively large amounts of carbon dioxide.
Thus, no matter what package we have today would not use — all of which are harmful to the ecology of our planet. The only difference is that some — to a greater extent, some — less. And of course, do not forget that any packages that you should try on a maximum …
BBC on materials