All this for this? After the spell Make our planet great again At the start of his first term, and the former prime minister’s promise to the environment, in five years Macron has only succeeded in banning straws and plastic cups, or nearly. If most fresh fruit and vegetables since January 1 have been sold unwrapped as required by the “anti-waste” law of 2020, a trip to the supermarket shows that nothing has changed. As for the ban on plastic bags announced years ago, everyone believes that it does not correspond to reality, and that the cost of distributed bags has passed to the consumer.
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Because plastic is more present in our lives than ever before. Since the pandemic, plastic packaging with home delivery has exploded. They account for half of the 70 kg of plastic the French consume annually, the average weight of a person! Who does not see that soda bottles have an unimproved thickness compared to their content, like many trays and plastic bottles? These packages have a minimum shelf life of 500 years, with an overall inconsistency of durability as their contents are consumed in a few seconds.
However, our “recycling” bins are overflowing, but only a small portion of this plastic is reused. The fact is that only 28% of 6 million tons per year are “recycled”, according to Citeo figures, and less than 10% in Ile-de-France. And again, it’s not real “recycling” that allows for example one of the 13 billion bottles disposed of annually in France to be reused, but “de-recycling” because the conversion of plastic significantly reduces its quality: at best, it is then crushed or Melt them to make balls or bricks.
“We make the French feel guilty with the ‘house burning’.”
As for the 72% that are not “discarded” (90% in Ile-de-France!) they are buried, burned or end up in the oceans, supplying the seventh continent with plastic in the sea and killing fish, marine mammals and birds already threatened by overfishing. Before we end up in the food chain and then on our plates, the water we drink is in the form of fine particles, so that we literally “eat” the plastic, as well as break down under it. What are the medium-term consequences for human health?
Researcher Natalie Guntard echoed these recycling fantasies. Vendors of mineral water and soft drinks, despite the absolute ability to contact them and put “green points” or “recyclable”, can not hide the fact that a bottle pollutes a hundred times more than tap water. Furthermore, after a twenty-year battle, the UFC-Que Choisir has just gotten the highly misleading “green dot” gone under the circular economy act of February 10, 2020.
Ban the word “recyclable”
The Anti-Waste Act requires 30% of “rPET” to be included in bottles, a new type of plastic that can really be recycled and re-injected into bottles, but in… 2030! We make the French feel so guilty of ‘house burning’ so why ten years for such a ridiculous rate in addition to charging it only on bottles?
“It is a good conscience, both individual and collective, that makes it possible to justify the persistence of consumerism”
But above all, the explosion of “recycling” that governments are constantly preparing forgets that it requires complex regulation, from the consumer invited to sort his waste, not the least packing, to the differentiated collection system that directs the right waste to the right place. As a result, most plastics screened in the home end up in the normal operating system, as shown by Cash Investigation. Moreover, the hidden truth in balance sheets is that this process eats up energy to move and then transform materials. No, sure, there is no “groundhog” to pack in, which collects it, loses nothing on the way and then converts it into a reusable form, and that’s without energy!
So it is wrong to define “recyclable” as a product that is a few percent reused and whose end product is degraded. Replacing it with “decyclable” is necessary to reflect the deterioration in quality and a shift in initial use. This term also raises awareness of the irreversibility of plastic consumption: an affirmation we tirelessly hear.” This product is recyclable so buying it is good for the planet It is the mainstay of rampant consumerism. Implicit speech to consumers Consume without restrictions, renew, it is recyclable “…it is the good conscience, both individual and collective, that makes it possible to justify the persistence of consumerism. This Chateaubriand describes the unlikely couple of Talleyrand backed by Fouché with the formula ” Vice leaning on crime’s arm For better endurance, consumerism relies on the imagination of “recycling”.
Towards a “strategic environment”
It is therefore a fake and misleading “recycling” of plastic. And at what price? According to a study based on Insee data from Ordeco, the observatory of waste and the circular economy in Occitanie, the “waste recycling” sector represented 40 billion euros in 2017. If the majority of this budget is related to primary treatment, industrial or household waste, the cost of recycling removal alone can be estimated Several billion euros (sorting, transporting, cleaning, processing, converting, etc.).
We should ban plastic and force manufacturers to replace it. »
Currently, the whole logic of this system is absurd: the French subsidize this expense of sorting, collecting, and then processing plastic, which is ultimately neither recyclable nor recycled because more than four-fifths of it ends up buried, burned or dispersed in the environment. This expensive system that relies on selective sorting and thousands of distinct boxes emm… French while ineffective and in vain.
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Those billions spent on the big plastic “recycling” hoax should be diverted to funding already existing biodegradable packaging. We should ban plastic and force manufacturers to replace it for food and household packaging with materials that are already biodegradable or recyclable. In this case, the French would no longer need to sort them but throw them away with all comers: end of sorting, disparate boxes, ballet trucks to transport, energy consumed and emissions of greenhouse gases (greenhouse gases).
Instead of making consumers feel guilty and misled, the logic should be changed at the source, on the part of the producer and the supermarket! Because even if biodegradable or recyclable materials actually cost more than plastic, reintegrating the cost of so-called “recycling” (sorting, bins, regulation, energy, taxes) becomes competitive. And more regarding the hidden, environmental and health cost of plastic: cancers due to ingestion of fine particles, damage to species and the environment, greenhouse gases emitted from burning, petroleum and chemical inputs to its manufacture … Plastic-free packaging can and should be circulated, in thin metal, aluminum Untreated cardboard, fabric, wood, paper…
“Many consumers are willing to understand and adapt to it.”
France is a leader in plastic processing and plastic packaging, and thus the industry can be reoriented to become the world leader in organic packaging. This is what I call a strategic ecology, in which producers, consumers and the planet are the winners, rather than the hypocritical, inefficient and guilt-inducing environment for governments yet in which there is above all the issue of disturbing the industry, as evidenced by the skewed public support for the popularization of electric cars.
Lessons from France, as a developed country that bears an important responsibility for global consumption of plastic, and therefore pollution, can and should become the first industrialized country to ban the use of plastic packaging, giving the example and method. If the Elysee indicates on its website that France will seek an international agreement on plastic pollution, it should still be ignored when national policy is possible! Far from the pretty formulas, chatty COPs many consumers are willing to understand and adapt to.