Ecoline Group, together with the association “Separate Collection” and the Russian branch of Greenpeace, has issued recommendations for retail chains and delivery services to reduce the production and use of non-recyclable packaging as well as to unify correct packaging solutions.
The recommendations should help to increase the percentage of recyclable materials in the sorting plants, establish efficient recycling and thus reduce landfill disposal.
“We invite businesses to join forces to stop the ‘packaging boom'”. A study of the contents of recycling tanks conducted by the Ecoline Analytical Centre in four Moscow districts showed that 90% of residential waste flow consists of packaging, exactly 50% of the total volume are plastic fractions, only half of which can be recycled.
These figures were significantly affected by the self-isolation regime: during the pandemic, the demand for delivery services grew several times, and as a result, packaging in our waste was almost 20% more than at the beginning of the year,” Ecoline reported.
The publication includes proposals to reduce the amount of packaging, the need to unify it, select materials with a sustainable recycling chain, and eliminate unnecessary bags, film, wafers, and containers used by shops and food delivery services.
The recommendations not only describe the types of correct packaging but also warn against pseudo-environmental marketing solutions. These include, for example, the so-called biodegradable bags: with the help of a special additive, the plastic does not decompose but is broken down into small particles – microplastic, causing even greater harm to nature. It is impossible to process such bags – the degradable ‘bio-additive’ makes the material unstable at the molecular level and unsuitable for recycling.
In the course of a study on the composition of dry waste, Ecoline specialists found that the most mass-produced raw material is a PET bottle, which takes about 30% of the volume of the RDF tank. The second place is occupied by polystyrene foam wafers, which are highly contaminated and poorly recycled.
The disposable bags are also prominent: every day about 80 bags enter into each tank, and they are not recyclable. In Moscow alone, more than one billion bags are discarded every year.