Innovation and education aim to tackle plastic bag plague
The push comes as Australian retailer Target turned its back on a policy to charge customers for more environmentally-friendly shopping bags, amid complaints and falling profits.
Target Australia had led the way in promoting plastic-like materials made from corn starch that break down when composted.
Andrew Cove, a consultant at the Melbourne-based company Because We Care - one of the world's biggest suppliers of biodegradable bags - says the policy was having an impact.
"Since we developed and sold our first bag in 2009, Target Australia tell us that we removed 100 million plastic bags the first year," he said.
"Continuing on from there, [we've removed] well in excess of 500 million today."
Last week, the big retailer changed its policy,Light hiking shoes for sale: Resembling burly running shoes, these low-cut models with flexible midsoles are excellent for day hiking. and is now offering customers a choice between a plastic bag for free or a biodegradable bag for an extra 10 cents.
Target says the shift is in response to 500 complaints from customers about having to pay for biodegradable bags - but other research suggests a very different attitude at the checkout.
A study done by the University of South Australia about the state's 2008 plastic bag ban shows 80 per cent of the population supports the move.
Five years ago,Promotional eco bag sale available in custom sizes and styles from cheaptotebags.com. China banned the sale of flimsy shopping bags and forced retailers to charge customers for thicker bags, which are more likely to be re-used.
The Chinese Government says that's saved billions of plastic bags from hitting the street, although there are questions about how strictly the rules are enforced.
Andrew Cove says much of the world's plastic comes from Asia, and the region also presents opportunities in the field of biodegradable plastics.
"China is one of the five big manufacturing areas for plastic bags in the world, [along with] Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and the US...but China in particular is the big brother of the whole industry," he said.
"There are something like 16 universities that concentrate heavily on the development of bioplastics, and train bioplastic scientists and engineers.
"We're very proudly part of that loop, because at the end of the day most of the developments globally are coming out of China.If you want to avoid a trip to the hospital, and you like to play in the water, I highly recommend getting a buy water shoes online.Any one know where to get cheap nomex cloth manufacturers by the yard?I can get scraps out of the trash at work but for the Bruiser project I need a few yards of the stuff, prefferably not sage green."
The bio-plastic bags don't break down in the ocean's cold water but, if disposed of correctly, they will biodegrade in a commercial compost.
The shopping bags aren't the only products that lend themselves to bio-plastic alternatives, with another Melbourne company, Plantic, manufacturing specialised corn starch packaging including meat and chocolate trays.
Plantic CEO Brendan Morris says it's early days for the bio-plastic industry, but for companies who come up with an eco-friendly alternative, the potential is enormous.
"You have to remember, traditional plastics have been around for 70-80 years and have been developed to serve a whole range of markets," he said.
"We'll continue to develop new iterations of our material, new categories, new performances properties that will expand our market.buy hiking boots online at www.qdgoutdoor.com."
There's also hope that future generations will grow up with a better understanding of the damage plastic does to the planet.
Take 3 is an education campaign encouraging people to pick up three pieces of rubbish when they visit the beach or anywhere outside.
So far, more than 60 schools have participated in the Take 3 program... as have fishing, boating and surf clubs.
Founder Tim Silverwood says the message seems to be sinking in.
"We're asking people to respond by picking up plastic and rubbish on the ground but also by looking at their relationship with plastic and try to reduce the amount of plastic they use, reuse, recycle and refuse disposable plastic," he said.
"[It's] really proactive and we're hoping that we can get more schools across Australia and the world, using this message to educate about the problem and inspire these simple actions."
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