However, the current market penetration rate of degradable packaging is still low due to high cost and insufficient promotion or control of "plastic restriction or plastic ban". Compared with degradable packaging, disposable plastics are superior in production capacity, performance and convenience of use, and have significant cost and price advantages.
Plastic has been a love-hate relationship in recent years!

Some advanced enterprises, stimulated by policy dividends and multiple favorable factors, have achieved double growth in profits and brands!

Some backward enterprises are struggling to survive in the process of controlling scattered pollution and multiple screening and elimination.

Plastic, what's the matter?

  Why can't the "plastic restriction order" stop these "plastic use" habits? plastic recyclability design, degradable plastic packaging , and green recycling packaging are emerging one after another. Why are they not widely used?

To explain these problems clearly, it is necessary to clarify the "environmental protection account" and "economic account" behind the control of plastic pollution.

  Unequal cost and environmental benefits

The domestic "plastic restriction order" can be traced back to the "Notice of the General Office of the State Council on Restricting the Production and Sales of Plastic Shopping Bags" issued in 2007. Since then, plastic shopping bags with a thickness of less than 0.025 mm have been eliminated, and all plastic shopping bags in supermarkets, shopping malls, and bazaars are clearly marked and charged separately. This "plastic limit order" has been implemented for 14 years, but there has been controversy. plastic bags is too low, and the adjustment effect on demand is weak, especially for young people, which may just "fat merchants". In addition, free plastic bags such as farmers' markets and takeaways are still in use.

Through continuous practice, degradable plastic bags now appear in the stores of major supermarkets and fresh food e-commerce, and have become a highly popular product.

  However, the current market penetration rate of degradable packaging is still low due to high cost and insufficient promotion or control of "plastic restriction or ban". Compared with degradable packaging, disposable plastics are superior in production capacity, performance and convenience of use, and have significant cost and price advantages. For example, the large or medium-sized shopping bags that are currently forced to be used in supermarkets and convenience stores in large and medium-sized cities, the cost of degradable plastic packaging bags (about 0.3~0.5 yuan) is 2~3 times that of traditional plastic packaging bags.

  To make matters worse, the significantly increased costs do not result in a significant difference in environmental benefits. Studies have shown that the whole life cycle process of degradable packaging from production, use to disposal has little difference in environmental benefits from disposable plastic packaging. such packaging materials the environmental friendliness of

  Conversely, the environmental impact may be greater due to the more "complex" production process of compostable packaging. For example, Shi Yu from Dalian University of Technology compared the environmental impact of degradable polylactic acid (PLA) express bags and traditional polyvinyl chloride (PVC) packaging bags based on the life cycle assessment method. Under the same functional unit (25×35cm size) The comprehensive environmental impact of express bags and PLA express bags is nearly 1/3 higher.

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  — 2 —

  Circular packaging that is difficult to "realize"

  Express packaging, takeaway lunch boxes

In the past two years, a new type of circular express packaging, the shared express box, has entered the public eye.

  Major e-commerce, express, logistics and other companies have made attempts. Recently, a new type of recyclable express box developed by SF Express has been promoted and used in Beijing. This kind of packaging box, called "π-box", can be recycled more than 70 times, and 96% of the production materials of the whole box can be recycled.

  The government has also issued various incentive policies. On April 27th, the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission issued the "Beijing Plastic Pollution Control Action Plan 2022 Work Points", proposing that Beijing should carry out in-depth green management of express packaging, and select about 2 key enterprises to carry out large-scale recyclable express packaging. Apply pilots to promote a batch of recyclable express packaging products that are easy to use, low-cost, green and low-carbon.

  But does circular express packaging really work?

In June 2017, JD.com began to implement the "Qingliu Plan". At present, this type of recycling packaging has been operating well after being put into operation, but its application scenarios or scope of application are still limited.

It has been estimated that circular packaging can significantly reduce packaging waste. Taking the same-city B2C circular express packaging demonstration project carried out by JD Logistics in Haikou City as an example, more than 10,000 circular packaging boxes have been invested, with a single cycle service life of more than 50 times; 2,000 recycled packaging bags, a single cycle service life of more than 100 times.

According to the estimated operation of the demonstration project in the past year, the cumulative reduction in the use of disposable packaging materials is about 235 tons, including about 210 tons of disposable carton and other paper packaging, and about 25 tons of disposable plastic packaging; equivalent to reducing the use of There are about 900,000 disposable packaging boxes (bags), including more than 300,000 cartons, more than 500,000 plastic bags, and about 1.8 million meters of tape. If the recycling and sharing packaging can be fully promoted to the city-wide express delivery business in Haikou, it is estimated that the use of disposable paper packaging can be reduced by 1,730 tons and plastic packaging by 200 tons in one year.

  However, during the operation of the project, these theoretical environmental benefits have not been "realized" to enterprises through government subsidies or other means. On the contrary, due to the increase in investment, the project has not yet produced economic benefits. In the absence of incentive policies and proper cost-sharing plans, it is obvious that the promotion of circular packaging is difficult to rely solely on the environmental or social responsibilities of leading companies.

However, even if the leading enterprises have not received corresponding subsidies for promoting circular express packaging, they can establish a good brand image of the enterprise. Policies are also gradually improving, with multiple government documents indicating that the government is strengthening technological and financial support. It may be led by the relevant competent authorities to increase investment and support in the research and promotion of recycling packaging and green materials, and provide financial preferential policies to e-commerce and express delivery companies that use materials that meet the requirements, so as to avoid express companies fighting their own way and wasting financial resources. material resources.

In addition, the environmental benefits of take-out recycling lunch boxes are calculated. Combined with the actual operation data of an enterprise, the results show that although the production and use (such as recycling, cleaning and disinfection) of a single recycle lunch box increase the environmental load, if the number of cycles can reach 6 to 8 times, it can be used with the same function or Specifications of single-use plastic lunch boxes are equivalent in terms of overall environmental impact.

According to the actual operation data of more than 60 cycles, a single cycle lunch box can reduce 0.09 grams of SO2 (sulfur dioxide), 0.03 grams of PO43- (phosphate ions) and 91 grams of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions compared to disposable lunch boxes. equivalent. Based on this calculation, if the recycling lunch box can be widely used in the whole country, the replacement rate will reach more than 10%, 26 tons of SO2, 9 tons of PO43- and 26,000 tons of CO2 emission equivalent can be reduced every year, and 1270 trillion joules of energy can be saved. Energy consumption.

  However, from the perspective of the cost-effectiveness of the actual operation of the enterprise, the production cost of a single recycled lunch box is higher (about 5-10 times the cost of disposable plastic lunch boxes or even higher), and additional recycling costs (including cleaning and Disinfection), as well as the investment in the construction of supporting facilities such as intelligent distribution systems and thermal insulation self-lifting cabinets, so the overall cost is very high. Even if the recycling efficiency exceeds dozens of times, the packaging cost saved by reducing disposable packaging is still not enough to offset the production, use and related facilities costs of recycling packaging. If we can continue to reduce the cost of production and use, and further improve the cycle efficiency, especially if the environmental benefits are "realized" and distributed to the relevant stakeholders, it is expected to turn losses into profits.

  — 3 —

  How are costs shared?

Enterprises that produce or use plastic packaging products are always responsible for the green governance of packaging materials. For a long time, developed countries and regions such as Europe, America and Japan have formed a system based on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system, which has a wide range of applications and a relatively mature promotion model.

The EPR system is jointly responsible by the producers, users and consumers in the industrial chain. At present, the EPR system is mainly used for the recycling of consumer electronics (electronic waste) in China.

Different countries and regions have different specific implementation forms of the EPR system for different disposable plastic packaging materials, such as deposit system, fund system, green dot system, etc. Germany is the first country to implement packaging management in accordance with EPR requirements.

  Germany launched the "Green Dot Program" to implement sorting and recycling of various wastes

At present, with the mandatory implementation and continuous improvement of the domestic waste classification system in large and medium-sized cities in China, it is possible to explore and establish a reasonable cost and environmental benefit calculation method, and to find a reasonable cost allocation model based on China's national conditions.

At the same time, increase financial and financial support, standardize the signs and labels of degradable packaging materials and products, and promote product recyclability design. The release of the "Recyclable Design Guidelines" will directly guide the recyclability of plastic products. After the recyclable design of products, a large-scale single-material recycling flow may be formed, producing higher The quality of recycled particles, downstream recycled products will also be more widely used, such as bottle-to-bottle, food-grade contact-grade material applications, etc. Standard Download Link for Recyclable Design Guidelines for Plastic Containers and Packaging:

In addition, monetization of environmental benefits can also be considered. In the field of plastic packaging products, with reference to the mechanism of carbon emissions trading, explore and study the collection and sharing model of social incremental costs.

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