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[Thematic Report] Problem and Solving: Packaging Waste

by Seyoung Kwon | 01-08-2020 02:36 recommendations 0

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the global trend of people has become avoiding going out in order to minimize physical contact with others. This has naturally led people including me to prefer home deliveries and packaged goods, which are very convenient and efficient. However, this also entails more paper boxes, plastic bags, and styrofoam wastes. According to an article from ENews Today, the profit of major two delivery companies in Korea for the first two quarters have increased by 28% on average. However, this has brought about serious problems as packaging waste has also increased.

In fact, packaging waste has been a big problem in terms of excessive packaging that wraps products too many times, creating three to four layers of plastic bags and boxes per one product being delivered. This is a one of global environmental problems as styrofoam and plastic bags are very hard to recycle, as they are created from polymers, and most of them end up in the ocean and landfill, polluting the sea and land. Also, plastic bags in the ocean are often mistaken for jellyfish by turtles and can lead them to death in consequence.

This problem can be solved using two methods. First, we can change the plastic bag and styrofoam into recyclable packaging. Paper bags can replace plastic bags to a certain degree. However, the main purpose of styrofoam in delivery is for shock absorber. For the mean of shock absorber, delivery companies can utilize biodegradable plastic. Air pouch of EarthAware looks like normal packaging material, but it is made up of recyclable plastic that is biodegraded in five years. This is much quicker than the biodegradation date of styrofoam as it is never degraded.

Secondly, processing plastic waste can be improved. The most basic solution for plastic bags is to be kept and reused whenever they are needed. However, considering that there are only a few plastic packages being recycled, the focus should be on the treatment of these plastic wastes. Pyrolysis of plastics can be one of the solutions. Pyrolysis chemically decomposes plastic at very high temperatures under absence of oxygen and high pressure. As plastics are also a mixture of different polymers, they are thermally decomposed at different temperatures. Those separated plastics can be recycled to make a new mixture of plastics. 

I hope these methods are more improved and commercialized so that it can contribute to the packaging waste problem.


Citation

“Another Side Effect of COVID-19: The Surge in Plastic Pollution: Earth.Org - Past: Present: Future.” Earth.Org - Past | Present | Future, 15 July 2020, earth.org/covid-19-surge-in-plastic-pollution/.

Bockhorn, H, et al. “Stepwise Pyrolysis for Raw Material Recovery from Plastic Waste.” Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, Elsevier, 23 Feb. 1999, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165237098000667.

“Growing Plastic Pollution in Wake of COVID-19: How Trade Policy Can Help.” United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 27 July 2020, unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2440.

“Knowledge Exchange for Sustainable Packaging.” Greener Package, www.greenerpackage.com/compost_biodegrade/earthaware_bag-film_materials_are_biodegradable.

 

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11 Comments

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Greetings seyoung
    I hope you are doing well
    Thank you so much for this report
    Green cheers
    Keep writing
    Regards
    Asmita Gaire
    Posted 20-09-2020 21:15

  • Shobita Neupane says :
    Hello Seyoung
    I have been reading some of your reports lately. All of them are well- written and inspiring. Thank you.
    Regards
    Posted 13-08-2020 13:20

  • Sang Su Mentor says :
    Hi Seyoung Kwon, this is a mentor, Sang Su Lee.

    Your elaborate article with perfect problem definition and solution makes me really happy to read through this. So many people are staying at home and ordering food via delivery. Also, Koreans, especially, like to order products online because delivery system is the world best! In addition, increasing one person household also has contributed to food delivery. I really hope the solutions that you've mentioned are implemented as soon as possible.

    P.S. Your citation is perfect!
    Posted 07-08-2020 12:40

  • Dibya Bhatta says :
    Greetings from South Korea!
    I hope you are doing well
    Amazing report!
    Stay motivated!
    Green cheers
    Regards
    Dibya Bhatta
    Posted 04-08-2020 16:09

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Seyoung

    Greetings and Namaste from Nepal
    Wishing you a safe stay
    Thank you for your report on problem of packaging waste and methods to solve it

    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.
    Green Cheers :)

    Best wishes,
    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 03-08-2020 19:48

  • Paras Kunwar says :
    Hello
    Thanks for sharing this information
    Posted 03-08-2020 17:43

  • Bal krishna Pandey says :
    Greetings Seyoung Kwon ,
    There are many issues during this pandemic like packaging wastes. In Nepal, Nowadays restaurants in Nepal also providing home delivery service. SO, we have to be careful to manage these kinds of pollution in a right way.
    Thanks for the great report.
    green cheers~

    Posted 02-08-2020 20:49

  • Shruti Shrestha says :
    Greetings Seyoung,
    thanks for sharing such a informative report
    Green Cheers !
    Posted 02-08-2020 15:56

  • sandesh thapa says :
    Greetings Seyoung,

    The use of styro foam as shock absorber are really not ecofriendly so we must look for the alternative as mentioned.
    THanks for sharing this report.

    Regards,
    Sandesh

    Posted 02-08-2020 15:05

  • NsikakAbasi Etim Jnr says :
    Hello Seyoung,
    Thanks for sharing this informative report on the solutions to plastic pollution arising from packaging.
    I agree with the questions from Mentor Taehyun, will the by products obtained from decomposition of the plastic be harmful to the environment?
    Posted 02-08-2020 01:34

  • Taehyun Mentor says :
    Hello Seyoung Kwon, this is mentor Taehyun!

    Thank you for the article that suggested a solution to the occurrence of a lot of disposable waste caused by the Corona virus! The problem was well raised and the solution was reasonable, but I'd like to ask you about the pyrolysis of plastics. If we decompose the plastic, will it be separated into a perfect carbon unit without producing by-products? If not in the usual case, how can we proceed environmentally friendly and degrade it without creating a potentially polluting byproduct? It would be fun to look for it in detail.

    Thank you for the report!

    Green cheers!
    Posted 02-08-2020 00:55

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