Reduce marine plastic waste, Coca-Cola launches marine plastic waste recycling bottles!

Reduce marine plastic waste, Coca-Cola launches marine plastic waste recycling bottles!

Plastic pollution is a global problem, and it is imperative to solve the problem of plastic pollution.


According to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme on World Environment Day in 2018, millions of tons of plastics enter the ocean each year, causing at least $13 billion in annual economic losses to the destruction of the world's marine ecosystems. UNEP Administrator Erik Solheim said: "There is no doubt that we are on the verge of a plastic disaster." From the most remote island to the peak of Switzerland, plastic pollution has spread all over the world, and marine plastic waste causes dozens of each year. Ten thousand marine animals have died in the form of micro-plastics, plastic fragments, etc. Even a large number of studies have confirmed that the toxic components of polystyrene foam can penetrate into foods and beverages, affecting human health. Therefore, the application of renewable materials is also imperative for the entire environment.

According to the EU's goal, by 2030, EU plastic bottles will contain at least 30% recyclables. EU member states also agreed to achieve a 90% recycling target for plastic bottles by 2029.


On the corporate side, the beverage giant headed by Coca-Cola has also set an example. Coca-Cola's European partners promise to use at least 50% recycled plastic in PET bottles used in Western Europe by 2025.


This month, the Coca-Cola Company first introduced recycled plastic bottles made from marine plastic waste. According to the Coca-Cola Company, some of the marine plastic waste recovered from the Mediterranean and beaches was converted into recycled plastics and involved in the manufacture of about 300 Coca-Cola bottles at 25%. Although the marine plastic waste was previously recycled into food and beverage packaging, the samples were the first plastic bottles made from marine plastic waste.


The enhanced recycling technology uses an innovative process that breaks down the plastic components of the lower-grade recyclable materials and removes impurities, allowing the recycled materials to be rebuilt like new materials. This means that low-grade plastics that are usually incinerated or landfilled can now be renewed, meaning that more materials can be used to make recycled materials, thereby reducing the amount of native PET needed in fossil fuels.


Bruno van Gompel, head of Coca-Cola's Western Europe technology and supply chain, believes that the enhanced recycling technology is of great significance to the entire industry and society, accelerating the promotion of plastic closed-loop economy. As the scale of the technology expands, various waste plastics can be recovered from incineration landfills and reused repeatedly to achieve new quality, thus eliminating the concept of disposable plastic and plastic waste.


In June of this year, Coca-Cola Amatil produced a carbonated soft drink bottle made of 100% recycled plastic, which the company called an “important step” for sustainable development. According to Alison Watkins, general manager of Coca-Cola Amatil, the use of 100% recycled materials for carbonated beverages is the first in Australia. By the end of 2019, all disposable plastic bottles of Coca-Cola Amatil in Australia will be replaced with new recycled materials.


In addition, the Coca-Cola Company will launch a recycling challenge at the AIPIA (Active, Smart, Packaging Industry Association) conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in November, inviting participants to propose an intelligent design solution that can solve beverage packaging waste. The challenge presented by Coca-Cola is how to address these shortcomings through smart packaging, while increasing the convenience of consumer recycling and engaging consumers in the process.


Coca-Cola packaging manager Patrick Etesse said the DRS, which encourages consumers to recycle waste packaging, helps turn waste into valuable products and promotes packaging pollution. The company hopes to combine it with another trend, smart packaging, to implement it and achieve Coca-Cola's goal of “no waste of the world”. According to the “Zero Waste Europe” organization, DRS has proven to be an efficient system for recycling plastic bottles and is considered part of a waste solution implemented throughout Europe. Coca-Cola has realized various attempts to use smart packaging to encourage consumers to recycle, and hopes that all consumers can recycle garbage through smart packaging.

Research shows that marine plastic waste rises rapidly, and microplastics enter the human body or will endanger health.
Everything we did eventually returned to us and our descendants.

Since the beginning of the mass production of plastics in the 1950s, the low price and convenient use of plastic products have made the plastic products completely popular in the human world, and the output has increased steadily year by year. Relevant data show that in 2016, the total amount of plastic products in the world has reached 335 million tons, an annual increase of about 4 percentage points. The annual output of plastic waste to the ocean can reach 480-12.7 million tons, of which nearly 115-241 million tons of plastic waste is imported into the ocean by rivers. In 2015, marine plastic pollution has been listed as a major global environmental issue alongside global climate change, ozone depletion, and ocean acidification. And the more direct revenge of nature has already quietly entered humanity, and micro-plastics will become the reality that the whole world faces.

New research shows that marine plastic waste is rising rapidly

Recently, a research paper on marine debris in Nature-Communication has attracted wide attention. The research article stated that the researchers conducted a large study covering more than 6.5 million nautical miles over a period of more than 40 years. In this study, researchers have been using the continuous plankton recorder (CPR) of more than 6.5 million nautical miles in the North Atlantic and adjacent waters since 1957 to conduct related research. Through retrospective statistics on the number of plastic particles (plastics <5mm) in CPR samples, the researchers found that from 1960 to 1970 to 1980 to 1990, microplastics increased significantly, but not significantly between 1980 and 1990. the trend of. The survey results also show that since 1957, these scientific equipment has been blocked 669 times. Since 2000, the incidence of ship engine gears wrapped around plastic products has increased by about ten times, and the amount of marine garbage has risen rapidly. This is the first study in recent decades to fully reveal the remarkable growth of marine plastics. In the past, people only speculated that the number of marine plastics is growing, and this time gives the most direct evidence.

Plastics all over the ocean, micro-plastics enter the ecological cycle

Most of the marine plastic waste is a type of non-degradable plastic. Most polymers will last for decades, and may even last for hundreds of years, even thousands of years.

Under the influence of external driving forces, they will enter the marine environment and transport along the ocean current for a long distance, entering the ocean circulation and the deep seabed. Since about 60% of plastic products have a lower density than seawater, when marine plastic waste enters the marine environment, a part of the floating plastic enters the ocean circulation through the flow of ocean currents and winds, forming the world's five major vortex plastic garbage gathering areas.

There is such a famous "Great Pacific Garbage Belt" in the eastern part of the North Pacific subtropical circulation. The latest research shows that this garbage has 4.5-12.9 tons of plastic floating in the area of ​​1.6 million square kilometers, which is 4 to 16 times higher than the previously reported figures. Microplastics accounted for 8% of the quality, accounting for 94% of the floating 1.8-3.6 trillion plastics, and there is an exponential growth. Large plastic waste will slowly become fragmented by biological or physical effects and become microplastic waste. Microplastics have been found in many foods, with up to 20 per gram of soft tissue in marine shellfish and 7-681 per kilogram of salt. Some studies have also found that 2-55 plastic fibers are settled per square meter per day in French air, with an average of 0.9 plastic fibers per cubic meter of outdoor air.

It is estimated that 50% of the world's people have micro-plastics!

More direct experimental results came from last year, at the European Gastroenterology Conference in Vienna on October 22, 2018, when researchers announced that they had detected microplastics in every stool sample in a small number of subjects worldwide. ingredient.

The Vienna University of Medicine in Austria and the Federal Environmental Agency of Austria stated that scientists found plastic particles in the feces of the eight subjects involved in the study. The eight people who took the initiative to participate in the trial were between the ages of 33 and 65. They did not know each other and lived in different areas. They came from different continents and lived in Japan, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland. Russia, Britain, Austria.

A week later, according to a sample test of the stools of the eight participants, it was found that not only the plastics of the eight people contained plastic particles, but also nine types of plastics, and about 20 microplastic particles per 10 grams of feces.

These discovered plastic particles range in diameter from 50 to 500 microns and come in a variety of shapes, including polypropylene (PP), polyethylene and terephthalate (PET), which are common in our daily lives.

Even the water we drink and the salt we eat may have micro-plastics!

A team of researchers from the American Opto Media Group and the State University of New York conducted a study. They selected 250 bottles of bottled water from 11 countries and 11 well-known brands for testing. Only 17 bottles of water were found to have no plastic particles. Fine particles contain an average of 314 per liter of water. In addition, American scholars studied 150 samples of tap water from 14 cities on five continents and found that up to 83% of the samples contained plastic particles.

The researchers analyzed 15 common saltes purchased in supermarkets across China, and found that there were polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene, cellophane and various other plastics used in the production of ordinary plastic water bottles.

This is not just in China. The researchers found that in Europe, a seafood diners may consume up to 11,000 plastic particles through seafood during the year.

All in all, plastic particles come from all aspects of people's lives, toothpaste, shower gel, facial cleanser, cosmetics... There are currently 1147 kinds of care products containing microbeads in the world, just 330,000 plastics in a normal bottle of scrub facial cleanser. particle. The final study also gave an astonishing report that it is estimated that plastic particles can be found in about 50% of the world's population.

Research on the damage of micro plastics

When micro-plastics invade us humans, even if we don't know where micro-plastics exist in our bodies, what harm will micro-plastics pose to us? Let's take a look at related research. Overall, there is still no conclusion. According to a survey conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) on microplastics in 2017, microplastics may not pose a hazard to humans. Because, for rodents and dogs, micro-plastics with a diameter of more than 150 microns are not absorbed, but are discharged through the feces, so 90% of the micro-plastic and nano-sized plastic particles ingested by the human body should not be absorbed by the body. (But the question is what to do if it is absorbed...).

Other studies have reached the exact opposite conclusion: microplastics can be harmful to humans. The reason and evidence is that the composition of the plastic itself and the components adsorbed by the plastic may have a negative impact on people and ecology and cause side effects. The discharge of micro-plastics from human feces does not mean that all the micro-plastics that enter the body through diet and drinking water can be completely discharged, and they will inevitably remain in the body and accumulate. Moreover, previous studies have shown that plastic particles less than 20 microns in diameter can enter the blood circulatory system and accumulate in the internal organs. As to whether they will cause harm, further research results are needed.

A study published in the 2016 European Food Safety Authority's journal EFSA Journal showed that the effects of microplastics on the human body are mainly reflected in the pollutants contained in them, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Plastics as polymers can be considered as non-toxic and safe under normal use, but in the production of plastics, other chemical components, such as plasticizers (plasticizers), are added to increase and change their function. , antioxidants, dyes, pigments, etc. In the case of plasticizers, the most common is di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), which, when released into the environment, becomes a phthalate in environmental estrogens. Whether it is human or marine life, a large intake of plasticizers can form pseudo-hormones and transmit simulated or false chemical signals that interfere with endocrine function, affect reproduction and development, cause teratogenicity, and even cause cancer.

In addition, plastics have strong adsorption properties, especially micro-plastics, which can absorb many harmful substances. Researchers from several countries have analyzed organic pollutants on the surface of micro-plastics collected by local oceans and found that in some areas, the content of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can reach 24,000 ng/g. Persistent organic pollutants are a large class of harmful substances with high toxicity, long-lasting, bioaccumulative, lipophilic and hydrophobic properties. Persistent organic pollutants can also cause damage to organisms even at low concentrations. For example, the most toxic substances in dioxin are more than 1000 times more toxic than potassium cyanide, and are known as one of the most toxic compounds in the world. The daily intake of dioxin that can be tolerated per person is 1 picogram per kilogram of body weight. 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) in dioxins is enough to kill guinea pigs for several days. Feeding a few picograms per kilogram of body weight can cause a miscarriage.

Although the damage of microplastics to humans has not been confirmed by research results, there have been some research results on the damage of microplastics to other organisms. A study by Swedish researchers in 2016 showed that high doses of polystyrene microplastics can inhibit hatching and growth of salmon. Moreover, the concentration of particulate matter used in this study was 150 to 102,000 particles per cubic meter in the coastal area of ​​Sweden.

Finally, the most important issue is the dose problem. We all know that it is a hooligan to talk about the dose. The microplastics still need long-term rigorous science to draw conclusions. However, because human beings are located at the top of the bio-chain, the accumulation of POPs and other substances can be amplified by numerous times through media such as micro-plastics. Therefore, the damage caused by microplastics to humans may take time and quantity to achieve. But at present, micro-plastics have been widely distributed in the human body. So, on that day, do we still have room to recover?

If we can think of it, at home, on the street, at the beach, the rubbish we throw away, will eventually turn into micro-plastics one day, returning to our body in another form, I think we will really Aware of plastic hazards. Protecting health is not only about exercising and going to the hospital for medical examinations, but also from harming places we never imagined. Starting from great love, starting from small things, resisting excessive use of plastics, for us to be our future generations.