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How to raise awareness about responsible consumption and plastic recycling

By Victoria

How to raise awareness about responsible consumption and plastic recycling

Verónica Ramos - Executive Director of Ecoplas

In June, the Environment Month is celebrated, designated by UNESCO to raise awareness about environmental protection and health. One of the main objectives is to sensitize the global population regarding environmental issues and motivate them to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development.

Education and awareness among citizens are central action axes for creating a new culture of responsible consumption and plastic circularity. We have the responsibility as citizens to build a new culture of circularity where every action counts so that plastics don't end up in the environment but are separated and recovered in circular processes. It is a task where we are all involved: industry, governments, and citizens.

According to the latest Recycling Index prepared by Ecoplas in collaboration with Cairplas, since 2003, the amount of recycled plastic in Argentina has increased by 456%, which translates to six times more plastics being recycled today than in that year.

This increase is related to the awareness work carried out by various associations, companies, and the public sector. In the City of Buenos Aires, the Green Schools Program is being implemented, where more than 6000 students and teachers have already been trained on waste separation.

Additionally, to provide tools to the value chain, urban recyclers are trained at 12 Recycling Centers in the City of Buenos Aires, teaching them to better identify and classify the types of plastics in incoming waste to make the work of recyclers more efficient.

Despite this great task, the lack of public policies is one of the main causes of the current deficiencies in household waste separation, differentiated collection, recycling, and post-consumer plastic valorization. We believe a National Law on Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) is necessary, which is still lacking in our country, and to work collaboratively with government authorities across the country to promote public policies that incorporate responsible consumption and the circular economy of plastics.

Currently, there are some national laws such as National Environmental Education Law No. 27621 and Law No. 27592, or Yolanda Law, which aim for a national environmental education strategy and to guarantee comprehensive environmental training with a perspective of sustainable development and a special emphasis on climate change.

Eco-design is another path. Ecoplas and INTI developed the Recycled Plastic Content Certification in products. An eco-label that guarantees the traceability and content of recycled material - from 15% to 100% - which already has two Argentine companies that have incorporated it into their products; and with the Recyclable Plastics Certification, the main national and multinational companies already have “The Hand” on their monomaterial plastic products to benefit their recycling.

 Today, the opportunity is to reaffirm the commitment to the environment. The path of responsible consumption of plastics is key to adopting the new model of a sustainable circular economy that respects our surroundings.

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