Mankind would be better off if some inventions had never been made. The atom bomb, for instance. Other inventions reveal their bad side only after years, such as single-use plastics devices. Plastic bags, coffee cups, straws and microplastics accumulate in the environment.
A tremendous amount of 40 tons (!) of plastics end up each year in the river Danube.
Plastics appear worldwide not only in rivers, lakes and oceans, but also in agricultural fields and –subsequently- the interior of fish and other animals and – finally- humans (see “ecostudies” and https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/sh-mdi101518.php).
To stop, or at least slow down this worrying plastic pollution, the Austrian government now (06 Dec 2018), at last, announced a ban on plastic bags. From 2020 onwards not just the big carrier bags, but also those used for wrapping fruits & vegetables will be prohibited. Single-use plastic containers are to be reduced (20-25%) by 2025.
Whether plastic bags replacement with “biologically fully degradable” bags is a wise and sustainable solution appears questionable. The throw-away mentality needs to change. Both industry and consumers will have to abandon “traditional” habits, opening the way for circular economy concepts. For eco-innovative minds this opens new opportunities in a number of fields: logistics, bioeconomy / plant-based particles replacing microplastics.
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