Preferably, sustainability is the accepted norm which is viewed to have specific challenges for both the current management as well as future practices. Furthermore, the essential dimensions such as the social, economic as well as environmental elements pose the question how well can one utilize the available resources without negating and interfering with the future abilities and the overall needs (Comani?? et al. 2015 p.690). Due to the continuation on the sustainability, many organizations have teamed up and rally various members in the society as well as embarked on the training with the aim of enlightening the community on the effects of the norm in the long run if not handled correctly in the meantime. Some of the key stakeholders who have embarked on the work include non-governmental organizations, private, public, corporate, individuals as well as non-profitable organizations (Pan et al. 2018 p.634).
The overall and specific objectives of this assignment include
- To establish the sources of the plastic cup littering the environment
- To assess and develop the effects of plastic cups in the environment
- To improve the action plan for the plastic cup sustainable challenge
Sustainability and Environment
The combination of unique properties and low cost has led the plastic to be common materials in the current economy. Plastic use has significantly increased in the past years and is projected grow and increase so much in years to come. In current society at least everyone comes into contact with plastic materials, an example in the packaging and production of coffee cups (Seidel et al. 2018 p.223). While plastic cups deliver some benefits to society, it also has significant drawbacks to the economy. Some of the drawback is the leakages which causes degradation of natural resources especially the oceans. A considerable amount of plastics leak into the sea each year. The most significant application of plastics, considering size and its low residual value makes it susceptible to the leakages. Plastics material can stay in the ocean for decades in their original form leading to accumulation of more over time. Ocean plastics significantly impact maritime natural capital. Besides the direct and indirect economic cost of plastics, there are also the significant adverse negative impacts on the health of human beings. Forests, waterways among other can also be degraded by the leaked plastics. It can also affect the direct financial costs by impacting the sewers and other urban infrastructure.
Gomes and Brasileiro (2018) noted that plastics are composed of polymer blended with complex additives such as plasticizers, stabilizers, and pigments, and might contain substances that may have impurities and contaminants that may raise critical concerns on the human health and the environment. For the response and sustainability, the used plastic cups should follow the waste hierarchy which is the framework directive sets on how the wastes should be dealt with in accordance with the legislation. The recycling of plastic cups wastes using the hierarchy provides efficient and sustainable use of plastic material. Companies in the United Kingdom dealing with the production of plastic cups should work on;
Rethink; This step help in making choices that are simpler and eco-friendly. Before tossing your plastic coffee cup to garbage, you should think fist of other means to make the component useful, like using it for other purposes.
Reduce; sometimes reducing the resources used for manufacturing is a preventive measure for waste disposal. The manufacturers should focus on manufacturing the long-lasting coffee cups using less hazardous materials. By making the greener choices the overall amount of landfill and leakages will be reduced
Reuse; people in the community should also consider the reuse of the coffee cups before disposing of them. Before thinking of eliminating you should first think of cleaning, refurbishing and reusing of the coffee cups for the same or different tasks. This is the greenest option.
Recycle; the last step in the waste reduction hierarchy is recycling. If you cannot think of rethink, reduce it or reuse it, then you have to think of recycling it before disposal. Energy recovery by incineration, anaerobic digestion, gasification and pyrolysis which produces energy should be implemented as the last step (Pankaj 2015 p.440).
There are regulations, and legislation provides the sustainability of the plastics cups. All the manufacturers of the plastic cups should be able to comply with the general principle of the safety for all food contact materials. One of the regulations is (EC) No. 1935/2004 which requires that the materials to be in contact with food that is coffee should not add their components which are impure into food at a level that may negatively affect the human health. It should also not change the food composition, test, and odor in an acceptable way. The critical mechanism to ensuring safety and sustainability in plastic cups is to by the use of migration limits which specify the maximum amount of substances that are allowed to migrate to food. For safety purposes, the compliance of plastic material has to be communicated via the manufacturing chain (Durugbo 2013 p.412).
There are various impacts which the plastic cup wastes have in line with the sustainability challenge. This analysis in the context mainly discussed in line the demographical evaluation and the locations of the United Kingdom. The overall per capita consumption and the pose effects which the plastic cup consumption have in the United Kingdom mainly illustrated as indicated in the graph table below
From the picture above, it evidential that the largest plastic waste sources are the packaging from the various consumers and the least mainly obtained from the non-packaging (Hargreaves 2011 p.79).
The plastic cups may lead to the production of greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gas emissions may come from its manufacturing and sometimes from its after-use cycle. Plastic cups undergoes various steps of manufacturing which include the extraction of raw materials that will definitely give rise to the production of greenhouse gas which have negative impact to the environment thus comes with natural capital costs. The phase of production, which consumes around significant quantity of the fossil feedstock that is used in the plastic production sector, which is the source of most of these greenhouses gas. The direct burning and recovery of plastic results to the carbon remains which is then released in the form of greenhouse gas emissions depends on the products' after-use cycle. (Bhattacharya et al. 2018).
The coffee plastic cups are used, and after a short first-use cycle, the plastic cups worth significant amount of money is lost annually. Furthermore, a considerable amount of plastic cups are not recovered at all. There are a percentage of plastics that are landfilled and a portion of plastics that leaks out of the collection system. This adds to a significant percentage of plastics that escapes the collection and recovery process, either directly or indirectly affects the economic costs which can be done by reducing the production of the natural systems and have negative impacts to urban infrastructure (Grose et al. 2018 p.409). The consequences that are associated with the use of plastic coffee cups are constituted in three major phases, the leakages which leads to the degradation of natural system especially in the ocean, the greenhouse gas production as a result of plastic production and its incineration after the use, and also there are health and environmental impacts which results from various substances of concern. There are also increased cost which results from collection, recovery, and disposal of plastics cups and the cost of greenhouse gas emissions from its production exceeds the profit of the manufacturing the plastics cups (Woodard 2018 p.76).
In summary, it is crucial and essential to note that there is a makeable increase in plastic consumption worldwide. In essence, the demand for chemical use is not only gaining the momentum grounds but also overwhelmingly increase across the globe. Even though, there are definite advantages in line with the synthetic cup production and the overall related projects in the various countries, improper management of the plastic waste has led to the mushrooming and the littering of the environment. The effect is that this has resulted in negative environmental impacts such as the blockage of the environment sewer lines as well. This has created adverse consequences as well as effects on the environment, and therefore, there is the need to develop a proper channel to handle such norms in the community and the major towns and cities. Some of the action plans which one may put into consideration for handling these messes include integrating efficient planning, and the adoption of the "design for environment concept. This will enable one to manage the wastes. The integration concepts need to include both the alternative and the sustainable solution. Furthermore, it is the role of the municipalities to develop and come up with the makeable measures as well as formulating various criteria for handling the plastic waste as well as improving the management plan which conforms to the set standards for the chemical scientific waste management. Moreover, all the brand owners and the producers should partner and work closely with the municipalities to ensure that there is the decisive concept for devising the EPR plan as well as develop implementation concept for the overall approach.
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