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262 PH Raniel Jose CastaÌeda 1509346061 Makabagong BayanihanPhoto credit: Raniel Jose CastaÌeda, Co-op Hot Shots 6 participant

Plastic has helped made life convenient, from carrying groceries to drinking water from plastic bottles or cups. Many things are packed with plastics or made of plastics However, plastics can be a big problem when they end up in the marine environment. This is because they do not break down naturally and take up to 400 years to decompose, thereby impacting ocean health and biodiversity1. By 2050, it is estimated that there could be more plastics than fishes in our oceans.

Worldwide, more than 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year. In Singapore, about 700 million kg of plastic waste is discarded every year and less than 10% of plastics are being recycled2.

What can we do to reduce our plastic waste? Here’re four ways that we can do in our everyday life to make a difference:

  1. Bring a reusable bag
  2. Carry a recyclable bottle
  3. Give up drinking from straws
  4. Use recyclable cutlery and tableware

Do you know that co-operatives worldwide are also making changes to how they use plastic?

fairprice v1 norway bottle cap

Singapore

NTUC FairPrice Co-operative introduced “FairPrice Plastic Bag Management Programme”, a framework that looks to holistically reduce plastic bag use. It targets to save 30 million plastic bags per year by 20303.

 

 Norway

To reduce plastic waste, Coop Norway introduced recyclable plastic caps on its Änglamark milk in 2016. As well as being fully recyclable, the polyethylene used to make the caps is produced from biomass from second generation feedstock, rather than petroleum-based sources4.

coop uk logo finland fruits veggie v1

United Kingdom

In the last 12 months, The Co-operative Group has made great strides to making 100 percent of its packaging recyclable. It switched to use simplified plastic trays for all cooked meats, raw meat, poultry and fish, making them easier to recycle and from just one plastic. It also replaced all polystyrene pizza boards in own brand pizzas with cardboard ones5.

Finland

In 2017, S Group started charging for plastic shopping bags, reducing the use of plastic bags by 60% or 4.5 million plastic bags. All S Group grocery stores offer biodegradable bags for fruit and vegetables. In 2016, the use of biodegradable bags increased by more than 60% per cent, and reusable bags by 20%6.


 

Notes:

  1. http://www.wwf.sg/get_involved/useless_plastic_/
  2. Ibid.
  3. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ntuc-fairprice-scraps-10-cent-byob-rebate-launches-new-scheme-to-10555202
  4. http://www.eurocoop.coop/uploads/2017_04_04%20State-of-play%20Plastic_Plastic%20Waste.pdf
  5. https://www.co-operative.coop/media/news-releases/co-op-awarded-for-leading-the-sector-in-recyclable-plastics
  6. https://www.s-kanava.fi/web/s-ryhma/en/vuosikatsaus/etusivu

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