The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has just completed a study where they have indicated that ‘Plastic pollution could be slashed by 80% by 2040’
What would have to happen to make this possible?
Government policy to eliminate unnecessary plastic and replace these with greener alternatives – would help reduce plastic waste to 40m tons by 2040 rather than 227 tons if no action is taken.
According to the Guardian Newspaper, the contamination of ecosystems means that people and animals are ingesting microparticles of plastic and particles have now been found in people’s blood and breast milk.
The UNEP report estimated that reusing plastic could reduce plastic pollution by 30% by 2040 – this would include schemes like deposit return schemes for containers which will start in England in 2025.
The report further indicated that recycling would reduce waste by a further 20%
How the government may encourage recycling in the future
The report suggested that schemes such as taxing the use of virgin plastic, the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and the replacement of takeaway containers with compostable containers may be tactics that could be deployed in the future by the government. This would certainly entice businesses to increase the recycling of plastic waste.
How would these measures impact our carbon footprint?
In summary, the report suggested that if the government took measures as outlined above, they could prevent the production of 500m of CO2 emissions per year.