China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (HKG: 0386, “Sinopec”) has published three sustainability insights reports highlighting the current status of the usage of packaging materials and degradable plastics in the country, in relation to China’s sustainable development goals.
The three reports – the “2021-2030 Research Report on the Carbon Emission Reduction Potential in the Green Packaging of China’s Express Delivery Industry”, “2021 Study on the Environmental Impact and Recycling of Plastic Takeout Packaging in the Catering Industry”, and “Research Report on Environmental Impact Assessment and Policy Support of Degradable Plastics”, were conducted in collaboration with various leading research institutes in China, including among others, Tongji University (the reports on green packaging in the express delivery industry and plastic takeout packaging in the catering industry) and the School of Environment, Tsinghua University (the report on degradable plastics).
The first two reports summarize the current status of packaging in the express delivery industry and takeout packaging in the catering industry in China and put forward practical suggestions for carbon reduction:
– Packaging in the express delivery industry: using recycled plastic packaging will not only help to control the amount of plastic waste, but also reduce the relevant carbon emissions.
– Takeout packaging in the catering industry: chemical recycling of plastics can effectively reduce resource waste while cutting down the carbon emissions. If all takeout plastics were chemically recycled from 2015 to 2020, the cumulative carbon emissions produced during the disposal would have been only 58.56 percent of the original number, reducing the emissions by more than 40 percent.
Plastic products are the main materials used in takeout and express delivery packaging, and while it is not feasible to replace plastics completely, the research on degradable plastics lays out a clearer path for energy saving and emission reduction.
The degradable plastics report suggests that based on China’s actual processing time for industrial composting and anaerobic fermentation procedures, the assessment indicators on degradable materials should be adjusted to 30 days for the degradation time of industrial composting, and 40 days for the limited degradation time of anaerobic fermentation. It also advises that the replacement of degradable plastics should be promoted initially in the places where the recycling of plastic mulch is difficult or not available.
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