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Covid-19: Global Plastic Bans And Policies

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July 16, 2020
Plastic Waste

What We Do Now Will Define The Future Of Our Planet.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve seen plastic bans and waste reduction policies being revoked by governments and businesses. The impact of Covid-19 is indeed unprecedented, but the urgency to stop polluting our planet is still there. It’s therefore important that governments and businesses continue the journey they were on before Covid-19 hit. They were on a path to reduce plastic waste and become more circular. It’s beyond challenging, we realise that, but what we do now will define the future of our planet. 

Demand Of Single-Use Plastic Is Increasing

Concerns about safety and cross-contamination of the virus overrule almost everything, including managing the world’s climate crisis The US for example, has withdrawn the single-use plastic ban. This has resulted in a heightened demand for bottled water, plastic bags, packaging, and personal protective equipment such as face masks. In India, the Tamil Nadu province has revoked bans of single-use plastic bottles and bags in retail trade. The UK has suspended the plastic bag charge for online deliveries, which is expected to continue until September 2020. The European Plastics Converters, a trade association, has even called for the EU legislation on the reduction of single-use plastic to be put back a year because of Covid-19.

Revoking Plastic Bans,Is A Step Backwards Instead Of Forward

At Waste2Wear, reducing plastic waste is our mission for over ten years. Revoking government policies such as plastic bans, is a step backwards instead of forward. It’s our belief, that to be future proof, we have to take better care of our planet. Reducing plastic waste is one of the world’s biggest challenges in this respect.

Banning Reusables Plastics

In addition to the above, businesses and governments are also putting a hold on reusable plastic items. Some fast-food chains, including Starbucks and Tim Horton’s, have banned the use of reusable cups and food containers. A few states in the United States presently have “bottle bills”, or mandatory container buyback programs. Currently, eight out of these states have temporarily terminated enforcements that require retailers to participate in these container redemption programmes. Some states have banned reusable bags during the outbreak and even ordered retail stores to use single-use paper or plastic bags. Many grocery stores across Canada are now not allowing reusable bags into their stores.

We’re wondering and worrying, will governments ever return to the path of banning single-use plastics? Will they ever again encourage the use of reusable bags and drink-containers?

Reduction Of Recycling Is Influenced By The Enormous Drop In Oil Prices

Unfortunately, it’s not only ‘reusable’ that is under pressure; recycling is too. Reduction of recycling is partly due to medical and managerial reasons amid Covid-19. However, another essential factor influencing this, is the enormous drop in oil prices. This subsequently depletes the value of recycled commodities relative to new materials. Without government mandates that require a minimum of recycled content in products, producing virgin plastic in processes using oil as a feedstock has now become far cheaper. The question is, to what extent are companies are able and willing to choose for greener, recycled options? Will we see  more recycled content in worker uniforms, clothing collections, or upholstery and curtain collections? Or will companies decided to go for the cheaper, virgin fiber option despite the impact on the environment?

We Will Continue To Take Care Of Our Precious Planet

Before Covid-19, a large part of the world finally found its path to reducing plastic waste and implementing circularity. This journey has slowed down drastically, while the need to prevent plastic waste from polluting our planet is more urgent than ever. In today’s new reality, however challenging, we still believe everyone should take responsibility. To speak for ourselves, we will continue to take care of our precious planet.

This article is a serie of 3, written by from Monique Maissan, Founder and CEO of Waste2wear, for IPI Journal, Mumbai volume 7, June 2020

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Sven Bleekemolen

Sven Bleekemolen is a Dutch entrepreneur and textile engineer. He is a versatile executive with a broad skill set and experience in a global marketplace. Lived and worked in Europe, Indonesia, and Turkey. Solid expertise in management of start-up to mature fashion companies in competitive wholesale and retail markets.

In his role as director of several companies, Sven built strong knowledge of international wholesale, retail, B2B sales, production and brand development. He has a strategic and innovative mindset, always focused on business development. He has a record of identifying opportunities and leading diverse teams to surpass revenue goals.

Sven has a strong focus on sustainability and is excited to discover the possibilities that lie in Waste2Wear’s groundbreaking material and blockchain technologies. He is committed to creating a major contribution to the business performance of Waste2Wear along with the transition to a more circular economy for a better outcome of the world.

Hein Barnhoorn

Olivier van Migem

Ruma Kinger

Rena Jiang

Rena Jiang has over 20 years experience in the textile industry. Knowing how polluting the industry is, Rena is proud to be making a positive impact by doing the right thing with Waste2Wear.

Christophe Marze

Christophe Marze has over 15 years specializing in structuring and powering up businesses in Asia. As a French national, he has spent many years living and working in Germany and in China. Christophe is passionate about continuous improvement, sustainability and compliance which are from him the pillars of a healthy business drive.

Jeroen van der Wind

Jeroen van der Wind is an entrepreneur, specializing in international trade within the textile and promotional industries in South East Asia for over three decades. He was managing partner of The Cookie Company for many years, producing licensed kids apparel for several multinational customers. In combination with a healthy business drive, he is determined to help further the Waste2Wear mission of relieving the planet of the plastic problem to create a better world, especially for his four adult children.

Eduardo Garza Garcia

Eduardo Garza Garcia is a Mexican designer and entrepreneur specializing in sustainable solutions for plastics. He has been pivotal in innovations including the industry-first recycled polypropylene (RPP) from discarded domestic appliances; a unique RPET verification method (RA-3) proving the recycled plastic content in materials and the industry-first blockchain technology. Thanks to his innovations, Waste2Wear has won several prestigious environmental awards. Eduardo is truly an innovator in the world of recycled plastics constantly working for new ways to bring more transparency to the recycling industry.

Stefan Kleijkamp

Stefan Kleijkamp is a highly experienced Global Quality and Compliance Manager with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Originally from the Netherlands, Stefan has spent the last two decades working in Asia, with 17 of those years in China. He is fluent in Chinese and has worked with a wide range of product groups including textile, apparel, hard goods and plastics. Throughout his career, Stefan has held positions in quality and compliance management for both large and medium sized companies, as well as in purchasing and logistics. His extensive experience has given him a deep understanding of the challenges and issues facing the industry, particularly in relation to traceability of recycled materials such as textile, cotton and polyester. With his expertise in quality and compliance, Stefan is dedicated to ensuring that the products and services provided by Waste2Wear meet the highest standards in quality, sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Monique Maissan

Monique Maissan is a Dutch entrepreneur and textile engineer specializing in sustainable solutions for the industry. As CEO and founder of Waste2Wear, she leads a committed team in creating products and services for a better future. Her vision has driven the company to produce fabrics and products made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and recycled polypropylene (RPP) plus award winning blockchain and RPET verification test RA-3.

Monique has won several industry awards, most recently:

Finalist of “Future Leader” World Sustainability Awards 2022;
“Outstanding Achiever” of Global Green Economic Forum, Women Eco Game Changer Awards 2022;
“Woman Leader in Plastic Recycling” Plastic Recycling Conference Asia** 2022;
“The Sustainable Entrepreneur of the Year” of Entrepreneurs’ Organization*** 2021.

She is constantly on the lookout for new and better ways to recycle more plastic. Monique’s drive comes from her determination to do her part to leave this world in a better place for her two adult children and all of the next generation