A report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) suggests that efforts to recycle plastic are ‘a major cause of the marine litter problem’.
Instead it asks: ‘What if we designed products that we can reuse, refurbish and repair’?
Public health expert, Dr Mikko Paunio, sets out the case for incinerating waste rather than trying to recycle it and says most waste comes from just a few countries, most likely Asia and Africa:
“Twenty-five per cent is ‘leakage’ from Asian waste management processes, the rest is waste that has never been collected, but is simply thrown into rivers.”
European countries inject huge quantities of waste into Asian waste management systems, ostensibly for recycling he adds.
“As much as 20% – millions of tons every year – ends up in the oceans and will continue to do so. EU recycling is therefore a major contributor to marine waste and increasing recycling will therefore simply increase marine litter.”
Dr Paunio advocates incineration as a means to reducing marine waste:
“Several European countries have already shown they can reduce their contribution to marine waste to near zero by simply incinerating waste.”
He warns that the EU’s effort to increase recycling and to close down the incineration route “mistakenly” believes this will reduce carbon emissions:
“The effects look as though they will be appalling. We can expect a great deal more plastic to end up in the environment, and in the oceans in particular.”
If the EU is serious about its war against marine pollution,” it should consider banning the export of plastic recyclate rather than banning plastic straws or taxing incineration,” he contends.