Industries dependent on PET or plastic bottles may be in for a hard time in Lagos as the state government says it will ban them in five years ‘ time.
Industries such as pharmaceuticals, carbonated drinks, table water and others under the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector depend heavily on the use of PET bottles for packaging their products.
But the Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Cleaner Lagos Initiative, Adebola Shabi, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Friday that the bottles take 500 years to degrade and as such were a threat to the environment.
He said: “In the world now, it is called plastic pollution because they end up in the ocean and affect aquatic lives; they also affect water transportation.
“The official said that one of the aspects of the Cleaner Lagos Initiative was recycling.
“In the past, 97 per cent of our waste was buried in the landfill; only three per cent were recycled; but we want a different ball game.
“We want to encourage our youth, investors, to go into recycling because some of what we called waste are not really waste, there are things/products we still get from them.
“We want to encourage less waste to the landfills; that is why we are calling for recycling of pet bottles, papers, used phones and a lot of things.
“We are working seriously on a project to see if we can come up with core starch and polymers to see how those ones can degrade in the environment easily.”
However, findings by Metrostarng shows that the special adviser may have spoken largely out of ignorance about current trends in the manufacture and disposal of PET bottles.
A study by the British Plastics Federation titled ‘PET Plastic Bottles: Facts not Myths,’ says that they are recyclable.
It reads: ”
PET plastic bottles are a popular choice for packaging soft drinks due to the numerous benefits they provide both to manufacturers and consumers. 70% of soft drinks (carbonated drinks, still and dilutable drinks, fruit juices and bottled water), are now packaged in PET plastic bottles – the rest comes mainly in glass bottles, metal cans and cartons.
However, despite the benefits of using PET plastic, many misconceptions exist about plastic bottles. This factsheet is intended to correct some of these
Benefits of PET plastic bottles
- Lightweight: Cost-effective to produce and require less energy to transport
- Safe: Do not shatter and cause a hazard if broken or damaged
- Convenient: Because they are safe and lightweight, they are also convenient for on-the-go consumption
- Re-sealable: Suitable for multi-serve packs
- Recyclable: Can be recycled so that the PET can be used over and over again
- Sustainable: Increasing numbers of PET plastic bottles are made from recycled PET
- Distinctive: Can be moulded into different shapes, enabling brands to use them to build identity and promote drinks
- Flexible: Manufacturers can switch from one bottle shape or size to another, meaning a high level of efficiency
Recycling: All PET plastic bottles can be recycled. Recoup’s ‘UK Household Plastics Collection Survey 2014’ confirmed that nearly 60% of PET plastic bottles in the household waste stream are now being collected for recycling – in 2001 this figure was just 3%. Major soft drinks manufacturers have also signed up to the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement with WRAP which spans over three phases. The third phase, launched in May 2013, is more focused on finding opportunities to reduce the carbon impact of packaging, whereas the first two phases focussed on focused on the reduction of packaging and packaging weight.
Through innovation, the industry is constantly improving its environmental record further. PET plastic bottles have been redesigned so that they are 30% lighter than 15 years ago and increasing amounts of recycled plastic are used to manufacture the bottles themselves. The industry is also working with organisations such as RECOUP on further innovation in the design of PET plastic bottles.
We all need to ensure that recycling rates continue to grow and the soft drinks industry urges people to recycle their plastic bottles and not discard them as litter. The growth in litter needs to be tackled and the industry fully supports public campaigns against littering and sponsors a number of on-the-go recycling initiatives to help people dispose of their empty bottles responsibly. See here to learn more about plastic packaging recycling.
Use of oil:
A tiny proportion of the world’s oil is used to make PET plastic bottles.
- 4% of world oil is used to make all plastic
- In the UK, 37% of plastic is used to make packaging
- Of this packaging, just 1.2% of plastic packaging is used to make PET plastic drinks bottles
Use of water: The industry, in line with its environmental responsibilities, is constantly looking at ways to reduce further the amount of water it uses in its manufacturing processes.
PET plastic packaging facts
Antimony: Antimony is used in minute amounts in the manufacture of PET plastic. It is approved around the world for this purpose. There is an EU maximum permitted level for antimony in bottled water. All reported levels of antimony found in bottled water are considerably below the safe level permitted.
Bisphenol A (BPA): BPA is used in the manufacture of some plastics such as food and drink can linings, but it is not used in PET plastic food and drink containers (nor those made from HDPE, LDPE or polypropylene).
Bisphenol A has been approved as safe for use in all food and drink containers by the European Food Safety Authority and the UK Food Standards Agency, and dietary exposure to BPA is well below the recognised tolerable daily intake (TDI).
Phthalates: Phthalates are substances used in the manufacture of PVC plastics to make them flexible – they are not used in the manufacture of PET plastic bottles.
All packaging used by the soft drinks industry is strictly regulated and must comply with European law, and EU legislation sets maximum limits for migration from food contact plastics into food. The European Food Safety Authority established safe levels for phthalates following a thorough review of safety data in 2005. The levels UK consumers are exposed to do not exceed the safety levels set.
Plastic bottles in cars: There are no carcinogens in PET plastic – it is a myth that a plastic bottle left in a car will leach carcinogens into the soft drink it contains.
Storage: Soft drinks bottles should be stored in the same way as many food items – they should be kept in a cool, dark place and should not be stored close to household chemical, cleaning product containers or sources of strong odours.
Re-use: If the bottle has been sold as reusable bottle, please do reuse the bottle. If the bottle has been sold as a single use botle, it has been designed for single use only.
Independent endorsement for plastic bottles emerged from work commissioned by the BPF’s Plastics and Flexible Packaging Group and carried out by YouGov in 2014, aimed at understanding UK consumer trends in packaging. One particular question focussed on PET water bottles, which found that the PET water bottle was ranked as the ‘most practical’, ‘most versatile’ and ‘most convenient’ packaging type by over 20% of respondents. A downloadable summary of the main findings of this survey can be found on the BPF website.”