How to help people make decisions for the common good
Sometimes the solutions to solve the big problems that beset us, such as that of plastic waste, are in the past. Coca Cola, in the 20s of the last century, introduced the concept of the returnable vacuum on glass bottles, managing to recover 98% of what was sold from the market.
Often on the PlastiCare portal there are articles related to the many researches and experiments on new forms of recycling of plastic and non- plastic packaging , which aim to solve the great problem of waste that haunts us.
Food packaging, especially plastic bottles, use a durable element to contain the liquids destined for our table, therefore it becomes waste in no time.
In reality, until 2011 the market was governed by consumers by three needs: reliability, convenience and performance . The plastic bottle summarized the three characteristics required by consumers and therefore, the producers did not ask themselves the problem of what happened, after a few days from the purchase, to the bottles.
Although the recycling of plastic containers had already started for some time through the mechanical waste management system , the large producers did not feel the problem of the environment and therefore continued to support the market, despite knowing that the share of plastic bottles produced compared to what was recycled did not present any kind of balance.
In 2012, people began to talk about the pollution of the oceans by plastic waste worldwide, in which bottles were the worthy representatives of this phenomenon. But it was not until 2015 that consumers began to become aware of the problem, multiplying campaigns to protect the environment.
People began to understand that of the 9.2 billion tons of plastic produced in the world, about 6.2 have become waste and of this quantity about 91% has not been recycled.
Despite this evidence, the major beverage, detergent and industrial liquids companies wavered , did not want to take a position because they were afraid of bringing imbalances in their sales.
Then, almost suddenly, companies like Coca Cola or Unilever, Nestlè, Proctor & Gamble, Pespi and others, broke the ice and acquired a new concept in their marketing DNA: environmental sustainability.
The word recycling entered the advertising campaigns to satisfy the requests of consumers who demanded a new industrial sustainability and realized that the “green” lever could also have a new commercial value.
The recycling market in recent years has undergone enormous changes and huge jolts, among those who pushed to improve and increase its potential and effectiveness to those who subtly waged war, lowering the prices of virgin raw materials , according to the most classic market rules between supply and demand.
But there is no going back anyway and this has also been acknowledged by the producers of virgin raw materials who are competing with the large beverage and home care companies, the recycling market, through armored agreements and direct acquisitions .
The cost of recycling is in any case a not indifferent burden and, today, contrary to what happened in the past, recycled material no longer has an economic advantage over virgin material. Thus other recycling channels must be found that make the supply chain sustainable.
As in the 1920s, forms of product distribution such as the returnable vacuum or the refilling of reusable bottles at authorized distributors, from beer to detergents to soft drinks, to coffee cups as Starbucks and McDonalds do, are being experimented in the world.
After realizing that we need to recycle we are slowly understanding that we need to reuse the packaging we buy and maybe we will also understand, I hope soon, that we must learn to consume less .