Global Anti-Plastic War

  Every year, 500 billion plastic bags that are only used once are thrown away, and the average use time of each plastic bag is only 12 minutes. However, it would take the earth 1000 years to degrade these plastic bags. At this rate, by 2050, 12 billion tons of plastic waste will have accumulated on the earth’s surface.
  However, there is still hope. In 2018, 127 countries started restricting the use of plastic bags. In 2019, 170 countries stepped up restrictions on plastics. Countries around the world have taken various measures to join the fight against plastic.
| Costa Rica: Building a future without waste |

  Costa Rica is very determined to reduce plastic waste. The Central American country is one of the first countries to participate in the removal of single-use plastic waste, including plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, coffee stir sticks, disposable tableware and so on. To make environmental protection projects go smoothly, the local government has introduced a number of incentive policies to support companies in implementing environmental protection measures and invest in research and development of reusable alternatives, such as eco-friendly bags made from cassava and eco-friendly tableware made from sugarcane. The Costa Rican government’s goal is to have biodegradable materials account for 80% of all packaging materials in the short term. In 2019, Costa Rica won the Champions of the Earth Award, the highest environmental honor of the United Nations.
| Guatemala: A return to traditional methods |

  Six years ago, the Mayan village of San Pedro-La Laguna, Guatemala, launched a campaign against single-use plastic bags, pushing the country to introduce the country’s first single-use plastic regulations. The Guatemalan government provides residents with reusable or biodegradable alternatives, such as rubber shopping bags and rubber shopping baskets. Meanwhile, villagers in San Pedro-La Laguna take traditional methods, using large plantain leaves to serve meat products, wrapping tortillas in cloth, and more. Under the influence of this village, residents in other parts of Guatemala have followed suit and began to abandon single-use plastics.
| Mexico: Priority to local resources |

Cutlery made from avocado pits by Mexican company Biostage

  A sense of urgency to “reduce plastic waste” hangs across Mexico. In 2018, the Baja California Sur state government introduced regulations to reduce single-use plastic waste and encourage the use of local products instead of single-use plastics, such as straws made from agave plant fibers and cutlery made from avocado pits. As of now, more than 85% of Mexican states have banned plastic bags. After Mexico City implemented a plastic ban in 2020, the traditional conical paper tubes used to package grains and spices have returned to people’s daily lives.
| Antigua and Barbuda: Tax relief for environmentally friendly products |

  Antigua and Barbuda, in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, banned businesses from providing single-use plastic bags in 2016. In order to ease the burden on residents, the government has reduced or exempted taxes on environmentally friendly products, especially bamboo products, paper products, sugarcane products and potato starch products. Moreover, the government will distribute free eco-friendly shopping bags sewn by local tailors in supermarkets.
| Jamaica: Stop importing plastic bags |

Jamaican coconut shell bowls give coconuts a second life.

  Three years ago, Jamaica stopped the import, production and distribution of plastic bags and plastic straws. Last year, local government regulations banned businesses from attaching straws to juice packaging. At the same time, local companies have also launched various environmentally friendly products, such as bamboo tableware and coconut shell bowls.
| Peru: Plastic bottles turned into pots |

  In a sprawling residential area in the Peruvian capital, locals have developed a good solution to plastic waste and the lack of arable land – turning plastic bottles into pots. Chris Cortez, director of environmental protection projects in Lima’s Santiago de Surco district, has a population of 350,000. Cut a hole in the side of a plastic bottle, hang it upside down, fill it with soil, and you’re done with a pot. .
  Plastic pots are large enough to grow lettuce, spinach, beets or a head of beetroot, radish, carrot. The bottom of these plastic bottles is perforated, and the mouth of the other bottle can be inserted, and they can be connected by tightening the bottle cap. There are up to seven in a row. Hanging on the wall is a vertical farm.
  In the “Climate Sounds” ecological park lies the largest and oldest recycling factory in Lima. More than 220,000 reusable plastic bottles hang on the factory’s 700-meter-long façade. Cortez does not miss any corner of the wall, maximizing the use of gardening techniques, saving water resources and planting space. Every few weeks, the vertical farm harvests quite a few vegetables. The staff will donate the vegetables to the local soup kitchen to provide residents with cheap meals.
| France: Promote bioplastics |

  On January 1, 2022, after plastic tableware, plastic straws, cotton swabs and other products, French fruit and vegetable plastic packaging and plastic toys that come with fast food restaurant packages were also officially incorporated into the ranks of banned single-use plastic products. The alternatives offered by merchants are made from a material called “bioplastic”, which has the properties of plastic but is theoretically more environmentally friendly.

Plastic pots are large enough to grow lettuce, spinach, beets or a head of beetroot, radish, carrot.

Most of the shopping bags provided by French supermarkets are bioplastic bags made of corn.

Green bags are commonly used shopping bags in Luxembourg households.

  There are two types of bioplastics: bio-based plastics and biodegradable plastics. The former consists of renewable biological raw materials, such as potatoes, corn, sugarcane, cassava, etc. The French government stipulates that only products with a biological raw material ratio of 50% can be called “bio-based plastics”.
  However, bio-based plastics do not have to be biodegradable, but biodegradable plastics can be bio-based, the latter being made of oil, gas or carbon, just like regular plastics. But the difference between this material and ordinary plastic is that it can degrade rapidly under the action of microorganisms, while ordinary plastics take at least hundreds of years to decompose completely.
| Luxembourg: Eco Bag Strategy |

  In 2004, the Luxembourg government partnered with VELUX, a non-profit organization that manages plastic waste, to promote green bags to replace single-use plastic bags. In this country of 630,000 people, more than 60 retail businesses participated in the action, reducing the number of plastic bags by more than 1.1 billion.

  In 2018, 12 New Zealand businesses decided to completely ditch single-use packaging by 2025, with some local food industry giants joining in. In 2019, the New Zealand government began banning plastic bags. This year, the local government will further strengthen the ban on plastics, and the scope of the ban will be extended to “all products containing plastics”, such as disposable wipes and take-away coffee cups.
| India: Recycling |

  Despite limited plastic regulations, plastic bags are still banned in various Indian states, especially during the epidemic. In view of this, the government of the country is determined to ban the use of most single-use plastics from July 2022. Some merchants had to make adjustments to comply with the policy, but some merchants have already made preparations. In Kerala, banana leaves are traditional tableware for food; in Rajasthan, many people will repurpose worn saris into bags for reuse. Additionally, jute is widely distributed in India and is an excellent alternative to plastic.
| Thailand: A super market that is at the forefront of the times |

Banana leaf packaging advertisement in Rimping supermarket in Thailand

  In 2019, the Rimping supermarket chain made a name for itself in Thailand with an eco-friendly initiative. In supermarket advertisements, banana leaves are used as product packaging. Although many countries use banana leaves as packaging and tableware, this is the first time that a supermarket has adopted this method. In 2020, 75 major retailers in Thailand followed Rimping’s lead and stopped supplying plastic bags.
| Bali, Indonesia: Listening to young people |

The company “Mountain Mama” in Bali provides jobs for local women.

  In 2013, a pair of young sisters in Bali launched the “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” campaign. In a novel way, they persuaded the local government to take measures to reduce the use of plastic bags and plastic straws. The sisters put models in recycled plastic waste and walked the fashion show; they went deep into the countryside to remove all plastic bags from the village; they also launched an annual island-wide clean-up; in addition, they established Started a social enterprise, “Dashan Mama”, which employs women on the island to sew eco-friendly shopping bags. The sisters have become local environmental leaders, and the Indonesian government has learned from their efforts to reduce plastic waste by 70% by 2025.
| Rwanda: First Steps in Africa |

  Today, 34 of the 54 countries in Africa have banned plastic bags. Rwanda was the first to implement a plastic ban in 2008. In 2019, Rwanda became the first African country to completely ban single-use plastics. However, Rwanda’s ban is not the strictest. In Kenya, companies that import, produce and sell plastic bags will face a fine of 36,000 euros, while personal use of plastic bags will face a fine of 450 euros. In addition, the Rwandan government has mandated monthly general cleaning to maintain the country’s title as the “cleanest country in Africa”.
| Uganda: Turning waste into treasure |

  In Uganda, whenever it rains, plastic waste blocks sewers. For Faith Aveco, who grew up in the slums of Kampala, floods followed the downpours. She said: “People are used to throwing plastic waste in the gutter, and when the rainy season comes, plastic bottles and plastic bags will inevitably be washed down the road.” Therefore, in 2018, Aveco and two like-minded women jointly launched the The “Reform Africa” ​​project aims to transform plastic waste into waterproof backpacks.

Members of the Reform Africa project transform collected plastic waste into waterproof backpacks.

  In the project, a group of women collected plastic bags and plastic bottles from the streets and dumps, washed them, dried them, processed them into leather-like waterproof materials, and finally made them into backpacks. On average, they produce about 20 bags a day, which are sold in six boutiques in Uganda and on the Reform Africa website.
  Today, these waterproof backpacks have made their way out of Uganda to the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and the US. “Our sales have doubled from last year,” Aveco said. She plans to open a factory to transform hard plastic waste into items such as nails and flower pots, and conduct publicity campaigns to raise public awareness of environmental protection. This is crucial for Uganda, after all only 1% of the country’s waste is recycled.
| Malawi: Call for animal protection with plastic artwork |

  Chisomo Lifa first turned plastic waste into statues of rhinos and later elephants, cheetahs and pangolins. The 27-year-old from Blantyre, Malawi, who started collecting plastic two years ago, is frustrated by the sheer volume of rubbish on the streets. “I didn’t know what to do, but the idea of ​​creating art came to my mind,” he said.

Using the materials picked up from the garbage heap, Fa created animal statues.

  Lifa softens and moulds plastic bottles and bags into animal shapes before painting and varnishing them. “The overwhelming response motivated me to continue creating,” he said. “I chose animals to create because I wanted people to pay attention to illegal poaching.” Lifa’s sculptures have been exhibited at the Four Seasons Garden Centre in Lilongwe. He also sells his work, hoping to change people’s perception of the environment and wildlife.
  Environmentalists estimate that Malawi produces 75,000 tonnes of plastic every year, 80% of which cannot be recycled and end up in landfills. Despite government bans on the manufacture, distribution and use of thin plastics, inaction at the judicial and law enforcement levels has led to the proliferation of plastics.
  In 2014, when Rifa was suffering from malaria, he started painting in bed, dreaming of one day opening an art school in the city. “Working with plastic is bold and risky because we work in high temperatures,” he said. “However, I’m motivated right now. I’m working on lesser-known animals like pangolins, and I want the public to know what they look like. ”

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