Plastic straws

Banning plastic straws achieves nothing. Or at least, nothing good. It does achieve a couple bad things though: it gives people a false sense that something is being done to address ocean plastics, and misleads people about the true sources of them.
Paul Graham

[…] it is the management of plastic waste that determines the risk of plastic entering the ocean. High-income countries have very effect waste management systems; mismanaged waste – and plastic that ends up in the oceans – is therefore very rare. Poor waste management across many middle- and low-income countries means that these are the main sources of global ocean plastic pollution
— Our World in Data, “Plastic Pollution

This map shows basically the potential for improvement. Countries where the plastic waste is almost entirely inadequately managed could do better, while western countries basically can’t do any better. Banning plastic straws in Europe does not lower the amount of plastic waste that is inadequately managed.

But this is the even more important map; the share of the global mismanaged waste and not that the color grading is almost logarithmic:

Not to pick on a single country, but there’s this example:

But also:

It is important to keep in mind that plastic is a unique material with many benefits: it’s cheap, versatile, lightweight, and resistant. This makes it a valuable material for many functions. It can also provide environmental benefits: it plays a critical role in maintaining food quality, safety and reducing food waste. The trade-offs between plastics and substitutes (or complete bans) are therefore complex and could create negative knock-on impacts on the environment.
— Our World in Data, “Plastic Pollution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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