ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION ON ALTERNATIVE MATERIAL FOR CONSUMER GOODS AND PLASTIC PACKAGING
The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council has supported the study of Trucost. Its name is Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs, and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement, The study carried out many evaluations. Also examines the benefits of the usage of plastics in packaging. As well as consumer goods and disposables. Also the case of replacing with alternative materials. Because that would bring a four times more environmental cost.
There have been reports examining the plastics usage and its environmental cost. In the light of the findings of these reports, we can form the basis of Plastics and Sustainability study. One of them is World Economic Forum report The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics (2016). Also another example is Trucost report Valuing Plastics (2014). The main values are natural water consumption, emissions to land, water and air. Such environmental values and impacts form the basis of the methods of natural capital accounting of this study. These methods bring it to a more realistic summary than traditional financial accounting.
Significant Results of the Study
Results of the study seem to be remarkable for reassessing a misinformation. Because Trucost study gives the results that instead of beneficial effects, replacing plastics would bring four times higher costs. Also this is for plastics used in packaging and consumer goods. Besides, this is the result after its replaced with alternative materials for same functions. According to the study, the annual environmental costs would raise from $139 billion to $533 billion. Because the main factor is plastics can be effectively used as a material in forming more lightweight and strong products. So this completes the lifecycle of plastics which brings less environmental damage in long term.
There may be many helpful steps to take. Also the report indicates these steps for reducing the current environmental costs of plastics. The primary advise is usage of lower-carbon electricity in production of plastics. Also increasing the use of lower-emission transport modes would be beneficial. Likewise, we can develop more efficient products in plastic packaging. Besides, increase in the recycling of plastic scrap will help avoid formation of garbage stacks and the preservation of resources.