Can you imagine that all the plastics that’s ever made still exists? Meaning the very first plastic ever made is still not decomposed.
Plastics have become a serious threat to us, our health, and this once a beautiful planet we live in.
People all around the globe are taking some major steps in order to recycle the plastics as well as coming out with better alternatives to polystyrene.
But how successful have we become?
Let’s take a look at two countries in particular and the ways they recycle plastics and plastic bottles. Germany and India.
Both of these countries do a lot of recycling of plastic bottles.
But what makes their techniques and outcome so different?
Let’s take a look at Germany.
With 82 million people, Germany is the most populated member state of the EU.
And with a population like this, it is obvious that they use plastics in an excessive matter.
But in Germany, bringing empty bottles back to the store you bought it from is a thing to be proud of. In fact, it is a way of life.
Well, thanks to its unique deposit system called Pfand, the recycling business has boomed in the country.
What is Pfand?
Pfand is a healthy and unique system that encourages locals to recycle plastic bottles they purchase from any store.
How does it work you ask?
Well, whenever you purchase a drink or any plastic bottle from a store, you need to pay a deposit between 9-31 cents per bottle.
In order to redeem your deposit, you must return the bottles you’ve purchased to the store, in a good state.
Since the bottles won’t be of any use to you, why not earn some money doing something good and helping out the environment?
The collection rate in Germany for all the containers correctly returned to the store is 90%.
And out of 90, 71% of all the packaging waste is recycled.
This is how the people of Germany is working in order to make the world a better place.
What about India?
India also falls under countries that recycle the plastic bottles.
The country recycles 90% of the plastic it produces for bottles and containers.
But unlike Germany, the informal economy are the ones that recycle plastic in India.
The main collectors of the recyclable wastes are the dirt-poor pickers and resellers. They collect the waste and send it to the official recycling centers.
These people work at the bottom of the economic ladder with a great risk to their health.
And for such a vital service to the society, they perform the task in an awfully inadequate income.
So when we look at Germany, we see that the government and businessmen themselves are encouraging the locals to recycle by providing them money.
However, in India, on one hand, the government has done little to nothing to encourage the locals to recycle the plastic and bottles.
And on the other hand, they’re actually manipulating the workers who risk their health in order to recycle. And also treat them like third-class citizens and pay them as less as possible, when they’re the ones that are actually making a difference in the society and the planet.