Integrated and Consolidated Review of Plastic Waste Management and Bio-Based Biodegradable Plastics: Challenges and Opportunities

Catégorie : Politiques & Réglementations
Date :20 novembre 2020
Mazhandu, Zvanaka S.; Muzenda, Edison; Mamvura, Tirivaviri A.; Belaid, Mohamed; Nhubu, Trust.
Sustainability : 12 (DocId: 20)
Cumulative plastic production worldwide skyrocketed from about 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 8.3 billion tonnes in 2015, with 6.3 billion tonnes (76%) ending up as waste. Of that waste, 79% is either in landfills or the environment. The purpose of the review is to establish the current global status quo in the plastics industry and assess the sustainability of some bio-based biodegradable plastics. This integrative and consolidated review thus builds on previous studies that have focused either on one or a few of the aspects considered in this paper. Three broad items to strongly consider are: Biodegradable plastics and other alternatives are not always environmentally superior to fossil-based plastics; less investment has been made in plastic waste management than in plastics production; and there is no single solution to plastic waste management. Some strategies to push for include: increasing recycling rates, reclaiming plastic waste from the environment, and bans or using alternatives, which can lessen the negative impacts of fossil-based plastics. However, each one has its own challenges, and country-specific scientific evidence is necessary to justify any suggested solutions. In conclusion, governments from all countries and stakeholders should work to strengthen waste management infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries while extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit refund schemes (DPRs) are important add-ons to consider in plastic waste management, as they have been found to be effective in Australia, France, Germany, and Ecuador.