At the start of 2018 China banned all imports of foreign waste. Since then plastic waste has piled up in ports across Europe. As a result the EU has announced a push to increase recycling. Whilst working to reduce the amount of plastic waste going to landfill.
Before the ban
China was the World’s leading importer of plastic waste. Although a Senior EU official is hoping this will now go to other countries in South-east Asia. They are taking this opportunity to revisit a number of environmental issues. And focus on some new ideas to improve this growing issue.
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Alternative ways to deal with environmental issues
The EU are considering multiple options including; a tax, curbs on throwing away items like plastic bags, imposing quality standards and new rules at ports amongst others. According to European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen.
An environmental tax may become more beneficial once the UK leaves at the end of 2020. As it will help to fill some of the gap in income. Some member states, who would prefer to keep revenues in national coffers, are opposed to this. There is also some environmental groups that are also opposed. They want to see the profits go back into the efforts to improve the environment especially pollution and plastic waste.
Last month an agreement was made to increase the percentage of plastic recycled throughout Europe and the EU from less than 30% to 55% by 2030 and to place a ban on land-filling waste that is collected separately.
At the moment most of the oil-derived plastic ends up in landfills or incinerated. The EU wants to ensure the plastic packaging itself is fully recyclable and to improve labeling, to help consumers better understand what can be recycled, with new legislation.
The Commission plans to introduce measures to restrict ocean polluting micro-plastics like the ones used in cosmetics. While new port reception facilities will seek to improve waste management so less ends up in the Ocean.
The amount of plastic in the Ocean is rising every day. This is something we are all affected by and it is causing huge health risks. The plastic is breaking down, being eaten by fish and in turn being eaten by us.