Plastics SA has responded to the call to ban single-use plastics. The body says plastic is easily the most environmentally friendly product on the market.
Speaking at the ProPak Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg, Executive Director of Plastics SA, Anton Hanekom, said that the plastic industry is as disgusted at plastic pollution as the next person. Hanekom delivered a speech at the conference held on Wednesday, 13 March 2019, titled ‘Replacing plastics: blessing or curse?’.
During his speech, Hanekom highlighted that banning plastics would be a simplistic approach to a complex issue, as the ban would only serve to remedy the situation on a surface level, instead of addressing the issue at the roots.
“Something that many of those leading the call to “wage war on plastic” fail to understand is the terrible impact that alternative materials have on the environment.
“It is tempting to imagine a world without plastic as some sort of environmental utopia. But, when used in consumer goods, plastic uses four times less energy than alternative materials such as metal, paper and glass. In fact, alternatives to plastic packaging would nearly double greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
He went on to compare plastic manufacturing to other heavily produced materials. He noted that plastic uses four times less energy than alternative materials such as metal, paper and glass, therefore emitting lesser greenhouse gas. He went on to urge South Africans to educate themselves on safer ways to dispose of plastic.
“The fact is that plastic – if disposed of correctly – is one of the most environmentally friendly products there is. And this is where the solution to plastic pollution can be found: in the correct disposal and management of plastic waste.” he said.
Hanekom also committed the plastics industry as being willing to work towards producing environmentally friendly products. “From our side, we are willing to make bold and constructive changes to our products. As members of the South African Initiative – an alliance of key members of the full packaging value chain – we are committed to transforming all our products to make them more environmentally friendly and recyclable.”