THE PLASTIC DILEMMA

plastic bottles

Jpsseline Cusme Written by Josseline Cusme, Business & Strategy Analyst
Reading time: 5 minutes


Plastic and packaging in particular make up a flash point for consumer sustainability concerns related to climate change. Surprisingly, much theoretically recyclable packaging is not really recycled. This means that most of it goes directly straight to landfill. In addition, a proportion of plastic packaging is not realistically recyclable through the current end-of-life infrastructure.

It is essential to start to recognize that ditching plastics in the foreseeable future is infeasible. This point is illustrated by their affordable price, versatility, and their rest of properties related with protection and availability readiness: they keep food fresh, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, keep healthcare products safe and save energy in the logistics chain. In fact, plastic provide considerable convenience and substantial consumer value.

There is a clearly long road ahead circularity achievement, regarded as a key role for sustainability success. In fact, the circular economy conceptualizes an incremental process of rdefini9ng the relationship between economic activity and growth, on one side, the consumption and disposal of finite sources, on the other

In addition, growing consumer interest will continue to drive stakeholder attention to plastic packaging sustainability issues.

According to a National Geographic publication from 2017, more than 91 percent of the plastic waste produced globally is not recycled. The same publication states that in 2018 more than 8,300 million tons of plastic have been produced globally since the mass production of plastic began. Around 6.3 billion tons of this waste ends up in landfills, oceans and rivers. If this is not stopped, landfills will contain 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that plastic waste collection and recyclability are regarded as the key of sustainability across waste management techniques. When it comes to plastic waste management, unfortunately, plastic labelling is often unclear. This point is illustrated by how consumers expect packaging to have an active sustainability component, such as being recyclable, compostable or even made with already recycled materials or made from renewable sources. In the same way, people’s concern claims towards less plastic used as well as lower environmental impacts. In fact, consumers are often unsure of how and what to recycle, resulting in apathy and frustration.

Although sustainability is the goal, eliminating plastic packaging is quite complicated. The reasons that explain this statement are related with the material itself. This means that durability makes plastic ideal for packaging and at the same time, effectively non-biodegradable.

Plastics comprise a vast set of high performance, versatile materials., providing tangible values to consumers:

  • Value
  • Versatility
  • Safety & protection
  • Adaptability
  • Substitutability

For these reasons, plastic packaging plays an indispensable role within food and healthcare industry among other sectors.

The lack of control that has led to the massive use of plastic has led many international environmental organizations to demand a legal framework in this regard. An example of this is the ban on single-use plastics or encouraging companies to promote the manufacture and use of plastics with a high percentage of recycled raw materials. Without forgetting that the brands take responsibility for their containers, packaging and packaging.

Plastic companies will need to continue making major modifications to their products by investing in Research & Development & Innovation (R&D&i) programs across technology manufacturing as well as integrating within their Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) performance all their stakeholder concerns.

In these terms, sustainability will also likely factor into future merge and acquisition (M&A) decisions and drive-up multiples for targets that have made appropriate investments.

It is also necessary to take into account when opting for this type of (sustainable) process that the economic factor, this must have a competitive price with respect to traditional single-use packaging options.

Last but not least, one significant opportunity is to encourage consumers to route problem materials into the proper streams, thus preventing improper diversion, discarding recyclable materials such as cans in the rubbish bin, textile and yard waste.

Find out how ALLCOT Group can help you with your sustainability and waste control strategies.

plastic bottles

Mahindra Racing first Formula E team and FIA World Championship entrant to be certified net Zero Carbon Footprint since inception

  • The most sustainable team on the grid becomes the first Formula E outfit and first FIA World Championship entrant to be certified Net Zero Carbon footprint
  • Pledges to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework

As it continues its vital sustainability work at pace, Mahindra Racing is pleased to announce that it is the first Formula E team, and first FIA World Championship entrant, to be certified Net Zero Carbon footprint since inception. The certification has been approved by the ALLCOT Group for carbon emission offsetting for the entirety of the team’s existence.

The emission allowances have been marked for permanent removal from the pool of offsetting credits at the Environmental Registry on behalf of the team’s chosen REDD+ Project.

Established in 2009, ALLCOT is a leader in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management tools and strategies for businesses of all sizes. By neutralizing GHG emissions, Mahindra Racing is not only able to protect the environment, but also provide community benefits that enhance profitability and brand value, increase employee satisfaction, to combat the climate crisis under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which is aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda, and promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The REDD+ project protects 177,899 hectares of high conservation value rainforest in the state of Pará, Brazil and will prevent net emissions of >20 million tCO2e over the project lifetime. It is a registered Code REDD+ project; is validated and verified against VCS and in 2012 attained CCBA Gold level accreditation. This project protects threatened tree species like the pau rosa (Brazilian rosewood), provides jobs in forest management and monitoring, supports education in agro-forestry techniques to enable the community to grow cash crops, protects at risk animals like the Giant Anteater, Golden Parakeet and Ka’apor Capuchin Monkey and provides secured land tenure to villages committed to conservation.

In addition to Mahindra Racing’s Net Zero Carbon benchmark, it is also pleased to announce it has pledged to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework alongside the FIA and Formula E. This initiative aims at supporting and guiding sports actors in achieving global climate change goals.

By committing to the framework, Mahindra Racing has pledged to five key principles; to undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility, to reduce overall climate impact, to educate for climate action, to promote sustainable and responsible consumption and to advocate for climate action through communication.

These new achievements add to the team’s previous sustainability endeavours including:

  • Becoming the first Formula E team in history to receive Three-Star Accreditation– the highest accolade in the FIA’s framework.
  • Committing to planting trees in the Araku Valley region of India thanks to its Season 6 tree planting campaign. Mahindra Racing’s efforts are in tandem with Mahindra Group’s commitment which has a commitment to plant 1 million trees every year
  • Partnering with One All Sports as its team kit supplier; a natural choice due to their shared vision and dedication to the use of sustainable materials, applications and processes.

“We believe that ‘doing good’ goes beyond philanthropy and CSR, it is more than just random acts of kindness. ‘Doing good’ is a purpose, an attitude, and a way of life; it is our guide for conducting business and ourselves. As a team that is committed to finding credible, advanced and next generation mobility solutions while being kind to the planet. At Mahindra Racing, we pledge to greater ROCE, which, for us, stands for Return On Climate and Environment. This is ingrained into our ethos and a big part of the reason we are racing in Formula E. We have been on this path of reducing our impact on the planet since our birth in 2014 and six years later we are carbon neutral since inception. We are also certified with Three-Star Excellence in sustainability. To this end, our efforts are and will continue to be, in tandem with Mahindra Group’s commitment and quest to achieve group-wide carbon neutrality. We look forward to kickstarting season 7 with ROCE as our guiding principle, towards setting innovative, competitive yet sustainable mobility benchmarks for the world.”

Dilbagh Gill, CEO and Team Principal.

“It is a great achievement for Mahindra Racing to become certified net zero carbon since inception. Mahindra Racing has become a leader in sustainability across the sporting landscape and promotes sustainable business practices across their supply chain. As the first Formula E team to attain FIA Three-star Environmental Accreditation and the most recent team to sign the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework, they are the perfect partners in the fight against climate change. The first manufacturer to join the Formula E grid and now the first to commit to Gen3, we’re delighted to have a long and ongoing relationship with another organisation so aligned to our vision and values.”

 Jamie Reigle, CEO, Formula E.

We are very proud and excited to be part of the Mahindra Racing sustainability team. Mahindra’s values and beliefs echoes our own. Sustainability or good management through Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Mahindra’s drive. It translates into these great achievements that we hope will inspire and lead to a virtuous competition among its pairs. Regardless, it sets great precedents that we aim to continue working and exceed whenever possible”.

Alexis Leroy, CEO, ALLCOT Group.


Plastic Waste Reduction Standard


Written by Alfredo Gil, Climate Change Waste Manager.


Our daily life is surrounded by plastic. Due to its high versatility, low price and properties (flexibility, durability and
lightness) it is present in packaging, clothing, construction materials, all kinds of objects and even as an ingredient in cosmetics. However, plastic is also often associated with the "use and throw away culture" since much of this material is used to manufacture a wide variety of containers that have a very short useful life. The simple gesture of throwing a plastic bottle on a beach takes about 500 years until it completely decomposes on the seabed. 8 million tons of plastic waste reaches the seas and oceans annually. This amount is equivalent to the weight of 800 Eiffel Tower, it could cover 34 times the island of Manhattan or equal the weight of 14,285 Airbus A380 aircrafts.

Currently, the most effective solution, when it is not possible to avoid its use or generation at source, consists of the recovery and recycling of these plastic waste. In order to encourage and evaluate the impact of this type of initiative, VERRA, with the support of the 3R Initiative, will launch the new “Plastic Waste Reduction Standard” in early 2021. This program aims to maintain consistent accounting and accreditation of a wide variety of plastic recovery and recycling activities anywhere in the world and to promote funding for projects that increase the recovery of plastic waste from the environment and / or its recycling. The Program will allow projects to be independently audited to determine to what extent they have reduced plastic waste and / or increased recycling rates. The so-called “plastic credits” will be equivalent to one ton of recovered or recycled plastic and will be issued based on the amount of plastic that is collected and recycled above the reference rates (usual or imposed by regulations) in each region.

These methodologies provide procedures for estimating net plastic waste recycled through mechanical recycling activities. Eligible initiatives will be the installation of new recycling facilities, capacity increases or technological improvement in existing recycling facilities, recycling of types of materials (including packaging) that have not been previously recycled in an existing facility, as well as incentivizing or facilitating the increase in the collection of plastic waste. The new program also establishes procedures to estimate the net plastic waste removed or diverted from its destination or usual final disposal through formal and informal recovery activities, with the aim of preventing this plastic from remaining or ending its life cycle in the environment.

Although this program is still in development and in public consultation phase, the technical department dedicated to the waste management sector at ALLCOT is already working on the use of these new methodologies to evaluate, develop and certify the first recycling and recovery of plastic waste projects in the VERRA registry. ALLCOT offers technical support throughout the initial evaluation process of eligibility under the new program of the different initiatives, the development of the project design documentation and the necessary calculations to determine the volume of “plastic credits” that will be generated. Once the project is registered in the program, ALLCOT will participate in the development of the Monitoring Reports and the periodic verification process.

Through participation and development in these new plastic waste recycling and recovery projects, ALLCOT continues to align its activity as always with the objectives established by the 2030 Agenda. These projects, framed in the “Plastic Waste Reduction Standard” will contribute decisively to the following Sustainable Development Goals: 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure, 11. Sustainable cities and communities, 12. Responsible consumption and production, 14. Life bellow water and 15. Life on land.

 

Nature’s time bomb


Written by Felipe JiménezClimate Change Mitigation Consultant


Humankind is destroying natural environments at accelerating rates. Deforestation, extensive agriculture, climate change, habitat invasion, biodiversity loss, and wildlife traffic, not only destroy vital ecosystem goods and services for humans but also open the way to zoonotic diseases and contamination of urban centers exposing people to deadly pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current Covid-19 pandemic. It was a matter of time for this time bomb to explode and cause such a dramatic impact in the world, as a result of environmental overexploitation and biodiversity’s mismanagement. 

Governments, with the help of local and international organizations, have a great opportunity and responsibility to set their countries and the world on a more sustainable path. Currently, policies and subsidies have been structured towards the protection and conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. Governments have understood the importance of reforming subsidies that are harmful to nature and introducing the payment of taxes for those activities involved in environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. The encouragement and promotion of effective nature-based projects and the strengthening of environmental monitoring and regulation procedures are being backed up by the governments and private sector initiative of creating more nature-based jobs. This in turn boosts up the economy and supports recovery processes within the ecosystems, promoting biodiversity’s conservation and restoration.

In addition to these actions, governments all around the world have banned wildlife traffic and taken precautionary measures to ensure food security and healthy consumption. In the same way, society leaders have conducted educational campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of establishing more sustainable alternative activities and confronting the problem through green investment and reinforcement of a more environmentally friendly economy and market. 

Given the current situation, ALLCOT has a clear vision of its role in enhancing practices for the promotion of a resilient and well-functioning ecosystem. As a leader in the formulation of sustainable and climate change mitigation projects, ALLCOT supports the conservation of ecosystems and thus, the protection of biodiversity. Through the projects focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, ALLCOT tackles deforestation and forest fragmentation restoring biological corridors and protecting flora and fauna species, especially those key species considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered due to their role as environmental indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Together with the mitigation and climate action scheme, ALLCOT develops a variety of sustainable initiatives around renewable energy, energy and resource management, and waste management. Through these series of projects, the organization conducts a qualitative evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that could be positively impacted by the project’s activities and is currently working on a methodology that will allow monitoring this impact.

Among the activities that support the implementation of these programs, the projects include educational campaigns towards wildlife traffic, the correct resource, and environmental management, finance administration, governance, social leadership, etc. Additionally, supporting the previous idea of the encouragement and promotion of nature-based projects, ALLCOT develops well-structured plans that involve local community participation which gives them the opportunity to establish and learn about sustainable alternative activities and businesses.

 We must realize that when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. Resources overexploitation, plastic pollution, overfishing, and the contamination of water sources are some additional critical issues that humankind must confront through the alignment of sustainable initiatives and actions. The formulation of such nature-based projects must receive clear support from the government and the private sector. These investments and subsidies will create a more resilient economy and will also tackle social problems such as poverty and hunger. Allcot’s contribution to the conformation and realization of these projects highlights the strong commitment that the organization has with the Paris Agreement objectives and the 2030 Agenda goals.

Climate Change: how can Artificial Intelligence tackle it?

A paper called “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning” was recently published and discussed at a workshop during a major AI conference in June. This document shows how Artificial intelligent would help change the biggest challenge of our planet “Climate Change”

David Rolnick, one of the authors and a postdoctoral student said “It’s surprising how many problems machine learning can meaningfully contribute to.” CO2 removal, energy production, solar geoengineering, education and finances are some of the areas that machine learning can be deployed.

Here are three ways machine learning can help battle climate change:

Better climate models.

Predictions are important, and making them better can help officials make informed climate policy, allow society prepare for change, and uncover areas that could reverse some effects of climate change. All this push is builds on the work already done by climate informatics, a discipline created in 2011 that sits at the intersection of data science and climate science.

Showing the effects of extreme weather.

“Our goal is not to convince people climate change is real, it’s to get people who do believe it is real to do more about that,” said Victor Schmidt, a co-author of the paper.

Measuring where carbon is coming from.

Carbon Tracker an independent financial think-tank is working toward the UN goal of preventing new coal plants from being built by 2020.

By monitoring coal plant emissions with satellite imagery, Carbon Tracker can use the data it gathers to convince the finance industry that carbon plants are not profitable. “In the future, if a carbon tax passes, remote sensing Carbon Tracker’s could help put a price on emissions and pinpoint those responsible for it”.

Read more information HERE

Article written by JACKIE SNOW at www.nationalgeographic.com