Plastic pollution control is intensified, and many disposable plastic products will be banned at the end of the year

  Are you ready to say "goodbye" to plastic?

  Some plastic products will be banned, are you ready? The National Development and Reform Commission and other 9 departments have recently issued the "Notice on Solid Promotion of Plastic Pollution Control", and announced the detailed standards for the ban on related plastic products. In January this year, the "Opinions on Further Strengthening the Treatment of Plastic Pollution" was issued and implemented. The opinion puts forward that by the end of this year, the use of non-degradable plastic bags, non-degradable disposable plastic straws, and non-degradable disposable plastic tableware will be prohibited in supermarkets, bookstores and other places in municipalities, provincial capitals, and cities under separate state planning.

  With the increasing ban on plastic products everywhere, are the public and plastic products companies ready to say goodbye to plastics? Can alternative products keep up? How to realize the recycling of plastic resources? Our reporter conducted an investigation.

Residents, communities, properties, and recycling companies say--

"Using plastics as resources, we can make a contribution"

  At noon on August 21st, carrying a white bag full of various plastic bottles and foams, Aunt Li, a resident of Huigu Sunshine Community, Chaoyang District, Beijing, walked into the renewable resource recycling station downstairs—a more than 10 square meters. M semi-underground room.

  When she came to the door, Aunt Li took out her mobile phone and scanned the QR code on the door. A password appeared on the display above the door. Enter the password on the mobile phone and the door opened automatically. Inside the house, several bags full of recyclables have been neatly placed. On the other wall, a row of new bags hung on the hair pouch machine. Aunt Li put the bag, and then scanned the QR code on the new bag with her mobile phone, "pop", the lock of the bag dispenser popped open, and Aunt Li took the new bag. Aunt Li said: “In the past, all the waste plastics in the house were mixed and thrown into the trash can. Now this small station is open 24 hours a day. There are many types of recyclables and some income, which is very convenient.”

  The construction of the recycling station received strong support from the community and the property. Liu Chunhong, director of Huigu Sunshine Community, said that the construction of the small station is expected to solve some of the garbage classification problems encountered by the community before, and if the pilot effect is good, it will be further promoted. Beijing Sunshine Jiaye Property Management Co., Ltd., which is responsible for the management of the community, bears the construction and maintenance costs of the small station. The company’s project leader Xiu Zongquan said that the company introduced Aobei Environmental Protection Company to provide professional services, which facilitated the owners’ participation in waste classification. This model can reduce the amount of waste and reduce the safety hazards caused by residents putting plastic waste in the corridor.

  People come into contact with plastic almost every day. With the development of new businesses such as e-commerce, express delivery, and food delivery, the consumption of China's plastic products, especially disposable plastic products, continues to rise. According to the data provided to this newspaper by the Recycling Plastics Branch of the China Material Recycling Association, China produced about 63 million tons of waste plastics in 2019, and the overall recycling rate of waste plastics was 30%, ranking among the top in the world.

  The key to good garbage classification lies in reduction, resource utilization, and harmless treatment. Plastic as a renewable resource, if it can be recycled, it will greatly reduce the waste of resources and energy. However, due to the large differences in the recycling value and sorting costs of different plastics, how to sort and recycle plastics has always been a problem to be solved.

  "Our original intention was to use technological innovation to solve the problem of waste sorting, rather than to make money by collecting waste." The operator of the station-Aobei Environmental Protection Company's Beijing area director Lu Bin said that the recycling station adopts intelligent self-service The management model applies smart technology to the processes of recycling, cleaning, sorting, and income statistics of renewable resources including plastic products. Residents can easily handle the process from buying bags to recycling to the final confirmation of income with a QR code. .

  Among the 14 types of recyclable resources currently provided by the station, 5 of them are plastic, including PET bottles, PE bottles, foams, rigid plastics, and plastic bag films. The recycling principle is clean, dry, and odor-free.

  Office buildings can also participate in recycling. In Donghuan Plaza, Dongcheng District, Beijing, the bag dispenser is installed at the front desk of the building, and the owner only needs to send the bag to the area designated by Yinda Property Company to participate in the recycling.

  In the North Libei Community of Guangximen, Xiangheyuan Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing, the Aobei Recycling Station has been in operation for more than a year. There are more than 2,000 residents in the community, and more than 500 households are involved. Talking about the changes, Zhang Hongxia, the secretary of the community party committee, felt quite touched: "Now plastics, foam and other resources are basically in the recycling bin, and the elderly and young people in the community have participated, and the awareness of sorting other garbage has also increased."

The R&D company says--

"Traditional plastics are laid off, and biodegradable plastics can take over."

  With the determination of the national timetable for the ban on plastics, various localities have successively introduced a number of plastic bans and restrictions. When traditional plastics are "laid off", who will replace them? The "Opinions on Further Strengthening the Treatment of Plastic Pollution" proposes to promote the use of biodegradable shopping bags, biodegradable packaging films (bags), and promote the use of alternative products such as biodegradable plastic bags in the field of food delivery; strengthen the research and development of biodegradable alternative materials and products, etc. .

  Can the degradable plastics currently on the market take over? The answer may be found in some R&D companies.

  These days, in the workshop of Jinfa Technology Co., Ltd. Zhuhai Wantong Chemical Co., Ltd. in Zhuhai, Guangdong, workers are busy producing plastic products such as fully biodegradable shopping bags, express parcel bags, and agricultural films. After 16 years of research and development, this company has an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons of biodegradable polyester synthesis and supporting modified special materials, and has mastered many core technologies for biodegradable plastics.

  These white and black plastic products look no different from ordinary plastics, but their performance in the natural environment is very different.

  "Compared with the'white garbage' that can only disappear for hundreds of years, under composting conditions, fully biodegradable products can be decomposed by microorganisms by more than 90% within 30 days, and enter the nature in the form of carbon dioxide and water; under non-composting conditions, garbage Part of the fully biodegradable products that have not been cleaned in the treatment plant will be gradually degraded within 2 years." Guo Defan, strategic project director of Kingfa Technology Co., Ltd., said that the company's biodegradable plastics meet international and national authoritative standards. He said that in the process of using fully biodegradable products, we still have to do a good job of sorting, disposing of waste at designated points, and centralizing treatment, and we should not discard them at will.

  So, what standards must plastic products meet to be considered as biodegradable? Relevant international standards stipulate 4 tests: one is the biodegradation test, the material can be decomposed by microorganisms and converted into carbon dioxide; the second is the disintegration test, the material can be disintegrated during the composting process, there is no "white pollution"; the third is biological Compatibility test, compost residues can not have a negative impact on the growth process of organisms; fourth is the heavy metal content test, can not contain heavy metals, have an impact on compost residues. Only by passing these 4 tests at the same time can it be recognized as a biodegradable plastic.

  Price is a major factor affecting the promotion and application of degradable plastics. It is understood that the price of a biodegradable plastic bag is generally two to three times that of an ordinary plastic bag.

  Guo Defan said that the price of fully biodegradable products mainly depends on R&D costs, synthetic monomer prices, processing and production efficiency, etc. With the government’s ban on plastics, more R&D forces participate, and the scale of the industry expands, prices will gradually decrease.

Industry experts say--

"To solve plastic pollution, we need to open up the upstream and downstream industrial chain"

  "At No. 48 Yard, South Street, Zhongguancun, Beijing, we observed that a resident brought his own disposable gloves, dumped the kitchen waste into the kitchen waste bin, and then put the garbage bag in the'other trash' bin."

  Recently, some members of environmental protection organizations have formed a garbage classification observation group, using the garbage map function of the Blue Map App to mobilize volunteers to take photos of the garbage classification work in the community.

  In the garbage sorting, will the residents put the food waste and the bags containing the food waste separately? Are the milk cartons put into the "other trash" bin or the "recyclables" bin? Do you want to remove the tape on the foam? The treatment of these waste plastics is one of the observation points of the observation team.

  Xie Xinyuan, director of the zero waste project policy of the Beijing Friends of Nature Charity Foundation, is one of the volunteers. He said that if the garbage bag is made of biodegradable plastic, it needs to consider the connection problem. On the one hand, the complete degradation of biodegradable plastics needs to meet specific conditions such as temperature, humidity, and strains of industrial composting. Therefore, the construction of industrial composting facilities is a prerequisite for switching to degradable garbage bags. On the other hand, many residents currently use ordinary plastic bags as garbage bags. If these plastic bags enter the food waste bin, it will affect the disposal of food waste. Therefore, relevant departments should coordinate the relationship between degradable plastic bags and garbage classification, and teach residents to be correct Put in biodegradable plastic bags and ordinary plastic bags.

  Experts suggest that the scope and applicable level of degradable plastics should be clarified. For example, packaging materials in contact with food, plastic bags containing food waste, etc., should be given priority to using degradable plastics. For industries where it is difficult to use biodegradable materials on a large scale, reusable products should be promoted.

  Plastic pollution involves a wide range of areas, and pollution control needs to be jointly managed to open up the upstream and downstream industrial chains. According to the "Opinions on Further Strengthening the Control of Plastic Pollution", by 2025, a management system for the production, circulation, consumption, recycling and disposal of plastic products should be basically established, and a multi-element co-governance system should be basically formed.

  How to get through the industry chain? Industry associations can play a role. The green recycled plastics supply chain joint working group established at the end of June this year is considered a good start. The working group is led by two industry associations, China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation and China Material Recycling Association, and is jointly initiated by 16 leading companies in the industry chain.

  "Solving plastic pollution is a systematic project. It should link source reduction, product design, mid-end recycling, processing, and back-end recycled product application to form a closed loop that is conducive to plastic recycling and regeneration." The joint work Said Wang Yonggang, deputy group leader.

  It is understood that the first task of the working group is to build a complete set of standard system, certification system and testing system for recycled plastics, covering the entire life cycle of recycled plastics, scientifically evaluating and guiding the design and production of green plastic products. For example, in the construction of the standard system, it will establish easy recycling and easy recycling design and evaluation guidelines for plastic products, clean production evaluation of recycled plastics, green recycled plastic evaluation indicators, and green recycled plastics-production and sales chain of custody requirements.

  "To fundamentally solve the problem of plastic waste pollution, we must rely on reduction and recycling. For those who adopt recycling packaging, shared cloth bags and other durable goods, it is more worthwhile to innovate and promote." Xie Xinyuan said.

Stone of Other Mountains

A Glance at Japan's "Plastic Resource Recycling Strategy"

  In May 2019, the Japanese government issued the "Plastic Resource Recycling Strategy", the main contents include:

  One is plastic reduction. Reduce the use of disposable plastics; speed up the development and use of alternatives to plastic products; speed up the development of new packaging that has a small environmental load and can be used repeatedly; advocate the use of the public to develop a sharing economy; extend the service life of items through maintenance.

  The second is plastic recovery, recycling and reuse. Efficiently sort and recycle and utilize plastic resources; reduce costs through collaboration and optimized design; improve the domestic resource recycling system.

  The third is to use renewable materials and biomass plastics. Improve the practicability of biomass plastics to replace plastics from fossil fuel sources; certification of low-carbon products, etc., to promote the popular use of recycled materials and biomass plastics by consumers; in principle, biomass plastics should be used in designated bags for combustible garbage.

  The fourth is marine plastic countermeasures. Prevent plastic waste from flowing into the sea and cause pollution; promote innovation in alternatives, etc.

  The fifth is international cooperation. Actively promote the construction of testing and research networks on a global scale.

  The Japanese government has formulated a corresponding timetable: in terms of emission reduction, by 2030, a cumulative reduction of 25% of disposable plastic emissions. In terms of recycling, the goal of doubling plastic recycling (about 2 million tons) will be achieved by 2030.

  (Source: Recycling Plastics Branch of China Material Recycling Association)

  Peng Xunwen