Reducing The Environmental Costs Of Plastic Utilization In Consumer Markets

Growing Concerns Over Plastic Consumption in Australia

Plastic production has started from 1950s and production has been over 7 billion metric tons. There is no possibility of degradation in plastics, it will break down in micro-fragment and the majority of it is present in existence. This will be accumulating the landfill and littering the natural environments and polluting the oceans. With approximately 7 million plastic metric tons entering into the ocean every year, the scientist has predicted sea will comprise of more plastic when compared with fish by 2050. Increasing recycling, reduction in consumption and selection of non-plastic alternatives and necessary actions of the government, businesses and manufacturers can create the genuine transformation. There has been a huge influence for removing the plastic in circulation.

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A recent study has been taken over on how the Australians have growing concerns over the growing number of plastic. There are no escaping plans in the modern life. In Australia, an approximately 1.5 m tons of crude oil derivatives have been consumed every year. Reducing the consumption through complete avoidance of disposable plastic containers and reusing disposable bags are regarded as essential waste-reduction possibilities. What are the roles of recycling? Despite the profligate consumption of the plastic goods, less than 300,000 tonnes have been collected for recycling every year.

The use of plastics in contemporary society has been increased; this has the environmental impacts which are associated with disposal and production. The UNEP has highlighted the eco-friendly costs of using the plastics in consumer products. These include greenhouse gas emissions, water and land pollutants, water depletion and marine debris production in the oceans (Rosano, 2015). The environmental costs have been promoting that plastics must be replaced through alternative materials, this can represent lesser environmental challenges. According to a recent study, suggests an exchange away through plastics will come at high environmental costs. The study is based on the how sustainable practices will help in reducing the environmental charges of using the plastics in consumer markets. Quantification of the environmental cost of the plastic utilized in the consumer market and compared with the conjectural scenario in which plastics has been utilized in packaging and consumer products have been replaced through the alternative materials which will provide the similar purpose (Ledwaba and Sosibo, 2017).

Mapping the environmental costs associated with alternative material and plastic use across the given value chain, consumer goods, geographic regions target interventions for improvising the sustainability where the greatest benefits are achieved. Identification of sectors which have been exposed to environmental risks, especially when the plastic has been replaced with alternatives (Budiyono, Syaichurrozi and Sumardiono, 2013). Quantification of potential environmental advantages of strategies for further improving the plastic use sustainability like effective packaging design and enhanced energy recovery systems and waste collection. The increase of low carbon emissions, use of plastic and recommendations on reducing the environmental costs of plastics has been given. The strategies have been enumerated as follows (Zaman and Lehmann, 2013)-

  1. Role of planning- The manufacturing, usage and ultimate disposal of materials which includes alternative material and plastic has an assortment of social and environmental costs which in maximum cases has not been reflected in prices of goods and services (Kumar and Pal, 2013). The enhancement of sustainability practices in material utility in the customer market is essential to consider the benefits and associated costs of different materials.
    Application of natural capital or environmental valuation technique will enable the communication and measurement of environmental impacts in monetary value.
  2. Role of organizing-The quantification of environmental costs, which is associated with plastics as well as alternative materials, the modeling methodology have been designed which will follow the different steps. The include-selections of the sector, quantification of plastic use, substitution modeling, selection of scope, impact quantification, valuation of the environment and sensitivity analysis (Mezes and Tamas, 2015).  
  3. Role of leading- With the innovative research methods, there have been lesser limitations and neither all aspects of alternative material and plastics are captured within this study frame. The methodology has been designed for making the utility of available data and capturing material impact of alternative material and plastic to be used in consumer products (Demir, 2009).
  4. Role of control-The environmental cost associated with consumer goods is 3.7 times less that of alternative material will be required for replacing plastic. The alternative materials like tin, aluminum, paper and glass are alternatives to the plastics in most of the consumer goods application. These comprise of high environmental costs when compared with plastics. According to the estimates, consumer packaging and products with alternatives which will execute the same function will enhance the environmental costs from $137 billion to a total of $523 billion (Asada, Sasaki and Nakamura, 2017). For Instance-The typical soft drink plastic bottle comprises of 25 grams of plastic. If this gets replaced through the weighted average mixture of alternative materials , this bottle is required 140 grams of materials such as tin, glass or aluminum (Arapoglou et al., 2010).

Environmental Costs of Plastic Utilization in Consumer Markets

The aggregate environmental costs of producing the plastic material for consumer goods has been sixty billion dollars in 2015 and transportation has added further 50 billion dollars. This implies plastic manufacturing industry will be given opportunity for reducing the environmental cost of plastic through the supply chains and operations. It is estimated 32 billion dollars can be saved as environmental costs if plastic industry doubles the electricity use of lower carbon sources like hydro power, solar and wind and therefore switching to 100 percent low carbon electricity. It is estimated 7 billion dollars of environmental cost saving can be done through effective packaging designs (Cossu, 2011). This is also possible in the food and confectionary sector that will deliver the best packaging system and requires less than 25 percent less plastic. 10 billion dollars ecological cost saving can be achieved through the 20 percent enhancement in fuel efficiency which is used in transporting plastics. This is applied through the modal shift or technological change towards lower emission transport like rail. Changes made in the procurement policies with a preference of more than effective transport can aid in facilitating different improvements. Additional involvements in the study have been targeted for improved recovery and waste management can increase environmental cost saving through 41 billion dollars and 30 percent of total environmental cost in the customer goods sector (Chintagunta, Jacob and Banerjee, 2016).

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This circular economy is regarded as substitute to conventional make use economic disposal model. This shows a high priority towards the extension of PLCs and extraction of maximum value through the resources which will be in usage and materials recovery at the ending of product life cycle. One of the most important principles of circular economy is enhancing the materials recovery in the oceans and this can be reprocessed and re-utilized in new products. This will increase the recycling of post-consumer plastic (Sabudak and Yildiz, 2010). The aim is to minimize the landfilling and this can give important environmental benefits. When these targets are implemented in the Australia, the environmental costs associated with plastics can be easily reduced through 7.8 billion dollars. These account for the enhanced impacts of environment and direct financial gains that are supplementary to the recovery value of recycled plastic and recovering energy. Recycling will deliver the environmental and social return and economic value of the improved materials and increased environmental advantages of increased reprocessing of products. This scenario outweighs the pollution emission costs and waste management, external costs by 3.7 times (Charpe and Rathod, 2011).

Strategies for Reducing the Environmental Costs of Plastic Utilization

Capturing the waste plastic before this has reached the ocean can easily cut ocean costs through 2 billion dollars. Refining waste management and collection is the key for reducing the plastics capacity that will enter the streams of water every year along with it asscpiated are environmental costs. Asia, with growing and largest consumer market goods and lower rates of municipal waste has been estimated to contributing to 70 percent of the plastic quality reaching streams of water through the consumer goods. An estimate on increasing municipal waste in Asia, the annual plastic can be reduced by the 45 percent. Similar investments had been made in waste management infrastructure and this is critical in Australia, where people are facing high rising incomes but waste management system remains poor. 

The revolutionary plastic study established in consumer goods division is important to investment risk; this will create essential costs towards society. If these have been internalized through the consumer pressure, future revenues as well as profitability, this can threaten the sector. The study has been undertaken for esteeming plastic with obvious focus on how plastic has been utilized in customer products and this can be made sustainable through the comparison of ecological performance of alternatives and plastic (Chihobo et al., 2016). By examining the possible strategic interventions in the plastic supply chain can provide environmental advantages. This has been based on above research, it is recommended to adopt the key actions and create a pathway towards more justifiable use of plastic in future. The strategies adopted are as follows-

  1. Supply chain management practices- The plastic industry is undergoing through the direct or indirect influence over the value chain and supply chain management practices and significant share of the primary costs of using the plastic in consumer goods and other sectors. This industry has been ideally positioned for creating further improvements in the plastic supply chain. Increased sources of decreased carbon energy and enhancements in efficiency of fleet will represent the opportunities by reducing the ecological costs in medium and short term.
  2. Innovation-These innovations made in the technology of plastic production can enable the shift towards more environmentally sustainable recycling designs and different outcomes and increase in the plastic efficiency in packaging and product applications. This will have potential for reducing the ecological costs associated with plastic across the complete product life cycle (Kermanian et al., 2013).
  3. Investment in packaging technologies-The investment in more effective packaging technologies that comprises of lesser plastic for meeting the customer needs will help in reducing the direct footprint of plastic industry. At the same time, enabling environmental gains in waste management and logistic phase of value chain through light weight customer products. Furthermore, the innovative designs of packaging will provide better protection and extension of shelf life in food products. Moreover, an environmental advantage of avoiding the food waste is greater than packaging producing costs. The plastic components development and can displace automobiles metal components and can offer important ecological benefits through increased efficiency over vehicle life.

The investment which has been made in collection services of wastes and enhancing the waste management and sustainable practices in the developing economies are critical for addressing plastic debris challenge in streams of water. The plastic impact on streams of water can be further reduced through different strategies that can manage the waste on land before it has reached the ocean. This expands the market for incremental economic incentive of recycled materials and prevention of waste leakage. This limits the usage of harmful plastics additive which can be leached into streams of water over the give time period. A Step change will enhance the recycling of plastic waste (post-consumer) and also the energy recovery can have the massive impact on the ecological costs associated with the utility of consumer plastic. These interventions can help to capture the lost economic cost (Meneses, 2016).


The Role of the Plastic Industry in Transitioning to a Circular Economy

The plastic industry has been playing the pivotal role which drives the transition to a circular economy through likeable the recyclers for optimizing the yields and efficiency from recovery of plastic procedures. For instance- standardization of greater material and packaging of conventional types will enable the more effective separation and sorting. The adoption of revenue accounting in plastic manufacturing domain will aid the enterprises in understanding the potential exposure and environmental impacts due to increased competition or increased costs when compared with advantages of alternative materials. This is due to the stringent consumer pressure and environmental regulation for improving the environmental pressure. Furthermore, techniques will enable the enterprises to communicate and evaluate the ecological advantages which are created through investments in the process efficiency.

This product innovation is focused towards the improvisation of environmental performance. The intention behind this aim of research is helping and inform sustainable use in customer goods sector and the identification of hotspots across the environmental product life cycle. The sector needs to make the choice between alternative materials and plastic. The adoption of simplifications and assumptions can help ease in achieving this scale. Individual companies are required to perform this empirical study and detailed evaluation of scenarios has been done at the company level.


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