The EU Parliament agreed to reduce thin plastic bags in the EU by at least 80% by 2019. The stomachs of most birds in the North Sea area contain plastic. How do we avoid using millions of carrier bags, which are all environmentally unfriendly?
Bags made of paper, bags made of cloth, bags made of virgin or partly recycled PE and bags made of bioplastic have huge environmental impact. Each solution has its own disadvantage regarding the environment.
- The production of a paper bag has the highest cumulative energy demand, due to material quantity and less re-use phases compared to plastic bags.
- PE bags show the highest resource consumption. Resource consumption of bag production (processing) has the highest contribution.
- The highest impact of Ozone depletion potentials are shown by bioplastics, this is caused by the manufacturing of Polylactic acid (PLA) beeing a pre-chain of most bioplastic bags.
- Bags made of cloth need a lot of water and other resources in the production phase.
All existing solutions improve their environmental performance by extending the use phase. But not all bags are made to be used more than a couple of times.
WHERE DO ALL THE DISCARDED BAGS END UP AND WHAT HARM DO THEY CAUSE?
100 billion in circulation
Out of the almost 100 billion plastic bags in circulation in the European Union, the vast majority are lightweight bags, which are less frequently re-used than the more sturdy thicker ones. The lighter, less-durable lightweight plastic bags often elude waste management and end up in the marine environment, where their eventual decay can take centuries.
An acceptance of the new directive would mean that European member states would be able to choose from a number of measures, including implementing charges on the bags, national reduction targets or outright bans.
According to EU figures, there are now some 250 billion plastic particles with a combined weight of 500 tonnes floating about in the Mediterranean Sea alone. These particles can suffocate sea creatures that ingest them accidentally or mistake them for food. Plastics break into tiny particles, and have a high potential for contaminating soil and waterways as they may contain additives such as persistent organic pollutants.
IS THERE A RADICAL SOLUTION TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF BAGS SIGNIFICANTLY?
How can we change consumer behavior to avoid waste, landfill, resource and energy consumption, and pollution. Is there a service or product, which can eliminate all those negative environmental impacts? For the solutions to be successful, they have to be accepted by the majority of consumers in the EU.
WHAT DO WE EXPECT FROM THE CHALLENGE?
Develop NOOBAGS: design a carrier bag, which is able to replace all other bags with a high environmental impact!
Develop NOOBAGS: a service solution that can significantly reduce the need of using those bags!
We do not have the necessary funds, so our plan is to go for innonative crowd-funding, when it is available. After a seccessful funding phase, we like to use the innonative marketplace to sell the solution that was developed with th help of the innonatives crowd. Our idea is that the team which developed the solution, could establish a company or organisation, where all members participate in the revenue.
Link to relevant websites, social media, blogs etc.
Are you interested in 51 ways to reduce plastic use? Here they are: smallhandsdesigns