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Photodegradable Shopping Bags Presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on the Environment.

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Presentation on theme: "Photodegradable Shopping Bags Presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on the Environment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Photodegradable Shopping Bags Presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on the Environment

2 Agenda To introduce a new invention that reduces plastic bag litter to manageable levels To provide evidence that the invention works To raise concerns about increasing the thickness of the bag

3 Objective To create a space for a technological solution to the problem of plastic bag litter –To delay the regulations for three months so that we can perform a large scale trial on the new bags –And report to the Portfolio Committee on our findings so that the regulations can be amended accordingly

4 Plastic Bag Regulations Are about LITTER

5 Our invention Developed at University of Pretoria An ingredient that is added when plastic bags are manufactured It causes plastic bag litter to disappear quickly

6 Effect on litter 10 times less plastic bag litter in the environment

7 How does it work The plastic bag dries up like a leaf The wind/rain breaks it into smaller and smaller pieces The pieces are reduced to a fine powder that is harmless to man, animals and plants The powder ultimately degrades into simple compounds like water and carbon dioxide

8 Does it reduce litter? Beverage carriers are photodegradable in US Required in terms of US Public Law In effect for two decades 10 times reduction in litter Photodegradable plastic mulch film in same fields for over 10 years

9 Testing Production trials at 3 of largest manufacturers in SA Market trial at Food World Stores SABS/UP testing according to US Federal Regulations WESSA has endorsed the technology

10 Made to Degrade TM Bags REDUCE: Bags use less plastic REUSE: Bags can be reused RECYCLE: Bags do not interfere with recycling of plastics DEGRADE: Bags will quickly degrade if littered

11 Plastic bag litter Makes up 5-10% of roadside litter and 2% of beach litter Costs 25 times more than garbage to collect Widely dispersed The thicker the bag, the longer it lasts

12 Regulations Thick bags for –Reuse –Recycling BUT increasing the gauge means increasing the plastic per bag by 76% ( tons)! AND thicker bags are very expensive

13 Plastic Bag Agreement Includes charging for bags As soon as you charge for bags you immediately get a reduction in demand, people find substitutes (Ireland, P Ryan) You don’t need to increase gauge to charge for bags

14 Problems Limits on re-use: –Contamination on the bags –Already reused as kitchen waste bags Limits of recycling –Uneconomical to collect –If all refuse bags are made from recyclate, maximum market of tons Environmental impact of substitutes

15 What does this mean? Recycling simply doesn’t work for plastic bag litter –RSA < 1% –UK < 1 in 200 The consumer will suffer an unnecessary cost A thicker bag = longer lasting litter

16 Substitutes for Plastic Bags Only viable substitute is paper Production of Paper vs. Plastic bags –30% more energy is consumed; –70% more air pollution results; –90% more water is used and –5 000% more water is polluted PAPER BAGS ARE NOT REGULATED

17 Effect of substituting plastic bags

18 If we switch to a degradable bag The litter will drop from 800 million bags in the environment at any one time to as little as 80 million with NO change in demand! The consumer will benefit because the degradable bags are less expensive –15 cents compared to over 30 cents for a thicker bag

19 Felix de Kleijn Question & Answer Session


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