How to reduce plastic pollution: practicality and technology

Reducing plastic pollution is a hot topic on which students in JAC’s Plastics Technology course work daily, studying and delving into all the techniques that are used within industries that process plastic materials.

Within the course, in fact, the techniques of designing plastic products, as well as the processing, recovery and recycling of these materials are explored in depth, in order to also contribute to the reduction of plastic pollution and its sometimes uncontrolled use.

Learn more in this article what are the good rules the main factors in reducing plastic pollution.

How to reduce plastic pollution?

To reduce plastic pollution, the first step to take is definitely to limit the consumption of all those products that generate a high rate of pollution, such as plastic cups, single-use straws made of non-biodegradable and/or compostable plastic materials, etc.

The uncontrolled use of plastic bottles is also a bad habit that generates pollution, which is why it is also necessary to act with common sense in order to reduce consumption and to generate less pollution.

First and foremost, the use of disposable plastic should be avoided as much as possible, although, as is repeated by the JAC Plastic Technologies course instructors, bottles when properly collected and conferred can always be recycled and reused to produce other bottles or other artifacts.

A water bottle to reduce pollution

Can a simple water bottle reduce plastic pollution?

Each year, students beginning their journey in JobsAcademy are given a “Welcome Kit” that includes a set of materials to accompany them throughout their two-year studies.

This year, in addition to the personal agenda, sweatshirt and other important materials, an aluminum water bottle is included, which each talent can use during classes, breaks or free time.

A real convenience for students and a concrete demonstration by JAC to reduce plastic pollution and its sometimes uncontrolled use.

The provision of an aluminum water bottle alone represents a decisive step toward reducing the use of single-use plastic, but in addition to it, JAC has also provided two free water dispensers in the Foundation, purified, clean and unlimited (not in operation today due to regulations related to the Covid-19 health emergency).

Each student, therefore, has the ability to refill their water bottle whenever they wish.

An efficient and effective combination, especially in Italy, where more than 7 billion plastic bottles are used in a year.

Suffice it to say that 20 plastic (PET) bottles make a sweatshirt.

A figure that says a lot, especially when compared to consumption, which turns out to be one of the highest in the world: the third to be precise, the first in Europe.

Source: Beverage Marketing Corporation 2016

Common sense and “good” plastic

The real problem with plastic pollution, it is not the plastic itself, but it is the lack of common sense of many citizens who make unlimited and wrong use of it.

The step from common sense to “good” plastic is a short one, it is a matter of adopting good plastic recycling practices, but above all, it is a matter of changing some small, but important, daily habits.

Plastic containers and packaging are not to be “demonized,” as so many unfortunately claim.

In fact, technologies for developed by the Italian industry of the sector, which occupies a place of great importance in Europe and in the world, allow the use and reuse of containers, as well as their recycling, to put on the market, in line with the so-called “circular economy”, new plastic to be reused, collected and recycled.

It is not, in fact, plastic items that pollute, but it is the bad civic education of those citizens, fortunately decreasing in number, who from year to year do not cooperate in separate collection and thus, in addition to polluting, disperse into the environment raw materials that represent reusable resources.

The good practices of plastic recycling

In addition to common sense, there are of course good plastic recycling practices as an answer to reducing pollution.

Positive data come from Corepla (National Consortium for the Collection, Recycling and Recovery of Plastic Packaging): in 2018, 1,219,000 tons of plastic were collected in Italy, involving 57 million Italian citizens who participated in separate collection.

Plastic recycling practices are growing, as is sensitivity to all the environmental issues that unfortunately loom over the planet.

But although there is evidence of a growing awareness of the plastics issue, recycling is not enough and cannot be the only answer.

In fact, in Italy, although separate waste collection is growing, about 40 percent of that collection cannot be reused or sent for recycling.

Among the causes of the difficulty of recovery are:

  • The lack of treatment facilities;
  • The need to innovate the system and provide for the use of recyclable plastics with an eco-design devoted to sustainability;
  • Citizens’ mistakes in making separate collection.

An innovative and practical approach

New plastics that are recyclable and have an “eco-friendly” design, this is the challenge faced daily in the path of Plastic Technologies.

But that’s not all, within the curriculum, JAC students also study and explore new technologies for processing plastics and composites, in line with what is the challenge demanded by the market, namely “innovate.”

Here then, the answer to reducing plastic pollution, is outlined in a conscious approach to consumption, uses and the processing and recycling system that revolves around the material.

In addition, increasingly fundamental is the need to train specialized technicians who can intercept market developments and offer innovative and practical solutions.

In companies in the industry, there is a great and continuous search for JAC specialists and technologists and postgraduates. From the start of the course to the present, graduating students have always received immediate job offers, finalized in employment contracts or in other cases in a short degree path in materials engineering.