Establishment of a Waste Stock Exchange (WSE)

One of the emerging systems that is increasingly assuming a pivotal role in the achievement of recycling and resource recovery is an online waste stock exchange (WSE). This system will serve as an online waste exchange network available for all companies in the country, to increase business profitability by promoting waste trading and recycling [151]. This system will streamline cooperation between waste producers, reusers and business advisers, making transactions quicker and easier to achieve. This web-based mechanism will serve as a secondary raw materials market that solves logistical and qualitative problems for all public and private entities that could potentially use some kind of waste in their production cycles or that implement recycling and recovery programs [151]. It is an innovative and efficient instrument, if introduced in a solid legal and economic context, and as is typical of a free and competitive market, will promote the reuse and recycling of industry by-products and wastes [151].

Conversion of Plastics Waste into Artifacts

Another option for sustainable plastic wastes management is conversion into artifacts such beads, bags, door mats and hats. This option should be promoted in basic and secondary schools [17].

Encourage the Use of Bio-Based and Biodegradable Plastics

Another way to prevent the input of persistent plastics into the marine environment is to introduce biodegradable plastics. Biodegradable plastics are made of renewable sources and consist of polymers that are capable of undergoing decomposition into carbon dioxide, water, methane, inorganic compounds or biomass. Biodegradation of these polymers is achieved by the use of microorganisms that have the ability to catabolize these polymers into less environmentally harmful materials [152]. The residue of degraded polymers is often used as plant fertilizer, and these plants can serve as a new source for manufacturing biodegradable polymers. Recently, progress has been made in developing biodegradable plastics that possess characteristic similar to those of oil-based polymers [153]. Bio-based and biodegradable plastics are on the rise, numerous new products have been developed, achievable properties are much more diverse and possible applications for these materials are much more versatile than they were just a few years ago. With regard to the end- of-life phase, biodegradable and compostable plastics offer additional recovery options, like composting or anaerobic digestion. Biodegradability is a special feature which is particularly attractive when economic and/or ecological benefits can be gained by leaving plastic products in the soil or biowaste stream. For example, used as biowaste bags, biodegradable plastics support a clean separation and collection of organic waste: divert from landfills toward high-quality compost production. Composting is important for areas where soil erosion is a serious problem [17]. Biodegradable plastics, or bioplastics, often have inferior performance compared to traditional plastics because they eventually become permeable to water. Therefore, bioplastic materials are used as disposable items, such as packaging material. The biodegradable polymers that are used are of diverse types. Bioplastics that are based on polylactic acid (PLA) and plastarch material (PSM) are two of the most commonly used ones in current commercial practice.

One practical option to reduce the rate of generation of plastic waste is by discouraging overuse or misuse of plastic wrappers and carrier bags. The “abuse” of plastic shopping bags is a serious and visible environmental problem [17]. To address the “abuse” of plastic shopping bags at the source, governments should impose an environmental levy on plastic shopping bags, with the first phase covering chain and large supermarkets, convenience stores and personal health and beauty stores. Aside from reduction at the source through the environmental levy, governments should also encourage the reuse, recovery and recycling of plastic shopping bags, through source separation of waste programmer and community campaigns [17]. In some countries, whereas alternative paper wrappers/bags are free in shops, plastic wrappers/bags carry a fee that is used to subsidize the more expensive production of paper wrappers/bags. The reason is that paper waste decays, so it does not endanger the environment. However, concerns about cutting trees for paper production and its negative impact on the environment must be borne in mind. Reuse of plastic carrier bags should be vigorously encouraged and practiced by all to minimize plastic waste generation [17].

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