Greenpeace on plastic, waiting for the meeting in Paris: "Recycling pollutes, produce less"
Plastic recycling is not as virtuous as one usually thinks. Greenpeace has reiterated this with particular force in recent days: "Plastic is incompatible with a circular economy", is written in its latest report on the subject, in view of the new talks for a new global treaty on plastics. Greenpeace has highlighted how breaking down this material for recycling produces microplastic pollution.
Last year, representatives of 173 countries agreed to develop a legally binding treaty covering the "complete life cycle" of plastics, from production to disposal, to be negotiated over the next two years. The appointment is in Paris next week and there have already been controversies related to the exclusion from the talks of developing countries which are often the first to be damaged by the dumping and burning of plastic waste and it is there that 60% of recycling operations take place. They are ghost workers, unrecognised, unprotected and discriminated against. Lacking access to healthcare, they succumb to infections, lung disease and cancer by living amidst toxic waste, inhaling the smoke from burnt plastic and making a living in the worst possible conditions.
“The plastics industry, including fossil fuel, petrochemical and consumer goods companies, continues to push plastic recycling as a solution to the plastic pollution crisis,” said Graham Forbes, who leads the global plastics campaign at Greenpeace USA – . But the toxicity of plastic actually increases with recycling. Plastic has no place in a circular economy and it is clear that the only real solution to ending plastic pollution is to massively reduce its production."
Approximately 8 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, according to the Greenpeace report and then underlined that only a small percentage (9%) is recycled. As if that weren't enough, recycled material has a higher concentration of toxic chemicals, which multiplies the potential damage to humans, animals and the environment. These are toxic flame retardants, benzene and other carcinogens, environmental pollutants including brominated and chlorinated dioxins, and numerous endocrine disruptors that can cause changes in normal hormone levels. The only way to intervene correctly would be to reduce the toxic elements in the production of plastic and in any case a reduction thereof.
Instead, the production of plastic is destined to triple by 2060. Greenpeace is not there and asks that the already existing plastics must be reused as much as possible. The ultimate goal is always the same: to develop waste disposal technologies that do not involve burning or burying them.