"Plastic-free school" emphasizes 4 years, plastic book covers are still difficult to "say goodbye"

The number of students in the compulsory education stage exceeds 100 million, the use of book covers is huge, and white pollution cannot be underestimated

(Reporter Liu Jianlin and Li Yanbin) "I remember that when my child first entered school, there was a 'plastic ban on plastic covers' for book covers. But now that the child is in the fifth grade, every semester according to the teacher's requirements, the self-adhesive plastic book bag is uniform. This semester, another 17 plastic book covers were used. Recently, Ms. Zhang, a citizen of Taiyuan, Shanxi, told the reporter of "Workers' Daily".

Primary and secondary schools are ushering in the school season, and book wrapping has become the first thing students and parents are busy with in the new semester. The reporter learned that this year, many students and parents are still difficult to "say goodbye" to plastic book covers.

In the stationery market at the beginning of the school season, the demand for plastic book covers is still strong, and the sales popularity is significantly higher than that of paper book covers. Offline, the reporter visited a number of stationery stores in Taiyuan and found that there are many types of plastic book covers and strong sales, while paper book covers are rarely cared for. The same is true of the online book skin sales market, on an e-commerce platform, the sales of plastic book skins of multiple brands are hot, with evaluations as high as "100 million +", while the paper book skin products displayed in the front only have "5000+" reviews, and the praise rate is also low.

As early as October 2019, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the four departments of the China Association for Science and Technology jointly issued a notice requiring all localities to strive to achieve a "plastic-free school season", and schools must not force students to use plastic book covers, especially plastic book covers in question.

But four years later, plastic book covers are still popular. "Not wrapped in plastic book covers! The school has requirements, and the plastic book cover is indeed durable, and the paper book cover bag is easy to get dirty and wrinkled. Ms. Zhang said. The reporter randomly interviewed parents of students in several primary schools in Taiyuan City, and they all said that the homeroom teacher asked for the use of plastic book covers. Some teachers also require that the white paper book cover be wrapped first, and then covered with a layer of plastic book cover.

The use of plastic book covers can protect books well, but the white pollution caused by plastic book covers cannot be underestimated. Around the beginning of the school season this year, the topic of Douyin's "wrapped book cover" has exceeded 40 billion views, and the search volume of the headline "wrapped book cover" increased by 177% year-on-year and 787% month-on-month. According to the 2022 National Statistical Bulletin on the Development of Education, if each person used 1 plastic book covers per semester, 59.10 billion plastic book covers could be used that year.

Corresponding to the huge numbers are plastic pollution and health hazards. It is understood that plastic book covers are mainly divided into PE (polyethylene), PP (polypropylene), PET (polyester resin) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), etc., and there are more polypropylene PP materials. Some book covers have been exposed to contain toxic and harmful substances such as formaldehyde and benzene, and some have been detected to exceed the standard of phthalate plasticizers. Many parents are concerned that the release of plasticizers and other ingredients from products may affect the physical and mental health of adolescents.

"Making book covers more durable is the best solution to 'say goodbye' to plastic book covers. This is nothing more than a question of cost, but it should not be an issue compared to children's health and environmental impact. A person in the printing industry said that at present, there are many suitable environmentally friendly materials on the market that can replace plastic book covers, and may wish to try to use them on the cover or book cover of primary school students. (Daily Worker)