Global villages have begun to quit going to markets using disposable plastic. The New York Post said on May 29th, 2019, that the New York State Legislature agreed to ban disposable plastic bags after a two-month debate over the use of single-use plastic bags and paper bags.” If New York State decides to get rid of disposable plastic bags, it will be the second state in the United States after California that does not have disposable plastic bags.
California, which already restricts the use of plastic bags and plastic straws, is enacting legislation, aimed to be done by 2030, to remove disposable plastic products that can not be recycled. In Hawaii, the legislation is banning the use of all plastic products, including plastic bottles and straws, in restaurants. Many cities in Washington, Florida, and other cities already have a lead in disposing of disposable plastics.
In late March of 2019, the European Parliament passed a law banning the use of 10 disposable plastic products, including straws, swabs and plates, since 2021.
Plastic Straws and Bags Disappear From the Restaurant
California launched a law banning the use of disposable plastic straws in September of 2018. In a full-service restaurant, where employees are responsible for everything from ordering to billing, disposable plastic straws cannot be provided unless they are requested by the customer. Straws made of eco-friendly materials such as grain and sugar cane are excluded from the regulation, but straws containing even a small amount of chemicals are regulated.
"The UK has announced a ban on the use of disposable plastic straws, plates, and swabs to be enacted since next spring, as Europe has agreed to dispose of single-use plastics," the The Times said on May 31st of 2019. British Environment Minister Michael Gove announced the action, saying that "disposable plastic products take only a few minutes and take hundreds of years to decompose." The sale of these items will be discontinued in April next year, which means that restaurants and bars are also prohibited from providing or providing disposable items for easy use by customers. Disposable eating utensils, such as plastic plates, spoons, and forks, will be banned from 2021. However, according to medical staff's judgment, those who need plastics can continue to use disposable straws.
The United Nations agreed to reduce the use of disposable plastic for the next decade at the 14th Environmental Congress in Nairobi, Kenya, in March last year. In a long-term meeting, the UN General Assembly declared in a ministerial statement that "the world should consider the ecosystem of the planet undermined by the use of disposable plastic products." Experts estimate that the world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic annually and more than 5 trillion tons of plastic floating at sea.
Plastic Garbage Is A Hazardous Waste
There is also a growing voice calling for restrictions on the movement of plastic waste. Under low recycling rates, plastic waste that enters developing countries is often landfilled or flows back into the sea. In particular, advanced countries such as the United States and Canada have been exporting plastic waste to Asian countries, saying that it is mostly recycled. Yet, plastic waste that has been exported to Asian countries are mostly discarded or burned.
At the meeting of the Basel Convention Parties on October 10, about 180 countries agreed on a new UN Convention that would prevent the movement of plastic waste between countries. Plastic waste is included in the regulation of the Basel Convention, which was signed in 1989, to control the movement of hazardous waste between countries. A UNEP official pointed out that plastic waste is one of the world's most urgent environmental issues. The Basel Convention, which entered into force in 1992, notifies the transit and importing countries of hazardous wastes in advance and requires that illegal transactions be returned to their original state. Foreign officials evaluated the agreement as "developing countries have the right to refuse to dump plastic waste in developed countries."
The Awakenings of Asian Countries… "Return illegal garbage"
Since last year, China, which has imported and disposed half of the world's recycled waste, has banned the import of 24 kinds of recycled waste. Asian countries, including Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia, have also refused to import disposable plastic waste that cannot be recycled. Increasingly, countries reduce or ban the use of disposable plastic.
The Thai government plans to ban all imports of plastic recycled waste from 2021. Indonesia, the world's second largest marine waste dumping company, has decided to charge disposable plastic bags from convenience stores since next February. Indonesia, with 9.8 billion disposable plastic bags per year, consists of more than 17,000 islands, with 1.12 million tons of plastic waste being dumped at sea each year.
Illegal exports of rubbish led to different disputes. The Philippine government is playing a vital role in bringing illegally imported garbage back to the country. In particular, they are in conflict with Canada due to the return of containers containing illegally brought garbage from Canada five to six years ago. Recently, an emergency was caught when mixed waste plastics were found in containers brought into Hong Kong from electronic components. The presidential palace of the Philippines said, "Philippines is firmly determined that it will not tolerate any country or organization to be treated as a dump." Malaysia also decided to return smuggled plastic waste from developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Spain and return it to their home countries.