Packages and closures for packaging

How should we deal with trashy information about rubbish?

We are living in a time when information appears in an instant and it circles the world even faster. We are flooded by news coming from each and every direction, some of which is so-called 'fake news', i.e. untrue information, the purpose of which is to be sensational, cause outrage, controversy or generate traffic to the website on which it was published. It is up to us to separate truth from falsehood, because official refutation either does

The last few months have seen a real boom in information, news and revelations about proposals to solve the problem of plastic and its ubiquity. The problem is undeniable: we are all well aware of the huge amount of plastic that has reached the end of its life-cycle and - with the optimistic assumption that half has been processed - we can be sure that the other half is littering our planet somewhere and is in no hurry to disappear. Politicians, producers of packaging, and average citizens face two challenges: firstly, how to reduce plastic consumption, and secondly, how to recycle plastic which has already become waste.

Greenwashing, i.e. eco-scams

The average consumer wants to feel that he or she is environmentally friendly and that their daily activities are not destructive to our planet. Eco-scams, i.e. false information related to the topics of environmental protection (in its broadest sense), give just such a feeling and are difficult to identify. Greenwashing takes many forms - from symbols on packaging that are not certified, to baseless statements about the 'environmentally-friendly' activities of a company, to an intentional lack of precision when giving the origin or composition of a product. A good example is the use of the statement 'all natural' or 'only natural ingredients' – well, mercury, polonium and arsenic are natural elements and can be found in nature, and all are still poisonous.
Eco-scams also make use of ubiquitous graphics with green leaves, clover, or arrows in a circle that are not official symbols for any legally valid certificates. Greenwashing can be terms and slogans that evoke positive associations, but are often meaningless, for example “oxy-biodegradable” bags. In this same vein, everything that surrounds us has started to be safe or environmentally-friendly, green, a friend of nature or of the ozone layer, or else it is non-polluting. It is up to us to determine what we want to believe and what we want to check in trusted sources.

If we care about being green, we should look critically at what we see and try to ensure we have a minimum of knowledge about household waste and if it can be processed.
As consumers, we must be able to read the symbols on packaging, so we know where the packaging comes from and where it should go. Below are the basic symbols:

    The GREEN DOT SYMBOL. This is often thought to be a symbol for recycling. It actually means that the producer has financed the construction and operation of a waste recovery system.

     The RECYCLING SYMBOL means that the material from which the packaging was made can be recycled.

 COMPOSTABLE PACKAGING - this symbol denotes packaging that degrades into compost.

 POSSIBILITY OF RE-USE - thanks to this symbol we know that the packaging can be used repeatedly; it is found on glass bottles and jars.

 The ALUMINIUM SYMBOL indicates that the packaging is made of aluminium and is recyclable.

 A CROSSED-OUT BIN shows that the product is not disposable with other waste; it is probably home electronics, a household appliance, batteries or light bulbs and has to be set aside for selective collection – with so-called e-waste.

Not all plastics are equal
The most common packaging material is plastic. Research efforts are being made to replace it with environmentally-friendly materials that will make contents safe - both during transport and also when in use – so they retain their properties, and so the empty packaging can be easily recycled or decompose.
Polymer (a.k.a. plastic) packaging of the type you can currently see is divided into four groups according to origin (petrochemical and renewable) and biodegradability (either it is biodegradable or not). The best for the environment are biodegradable polymers which, in appropriate conditions, decompose not only into substances that don’t harm the earth, but even into compost, an excellent fertilizer for plants.
Plastics that have been produced from petrochemicals should be recycled: this depends to a large extent on us, consumers, and on whether they are properly sorted before they get to a waste processing plant.
Consumer behaviour has an impact on everything that is happening when it comes to the problem of plastic. Everyday choices, conscious sorting of waste, and separating greenwashing from reliable information all give us the chance to turn our planet away from the path which leads to ecological disaster.