The measures implemented by the current recycling model, which are focused on producer responsibility and final consumer awareness, are not enough to prevent the continued accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans. For example, the Mediterranean Sea currently experience high levels of plastic pollution even if its coastline meets advanced countries.
“Barcode v/s Plastic Waste” continues forward the argument, including and controlling a crucial and forgotten player in the current model of consumption: retail or supermarkets. “Barcode vs Plastic Waste” offers an efficient, win-win-win model: a sustainable and dynamic circle, a cradle to cradle controlled process for this currently destructive material.
Consumers must continue recycling, but reality shows clear that the potential to decrease plastic waste could not depend only upon consumer awareness. A high percentage of plastic waste passes through supermarkets and, subsequently, the entire distribution channel.
While supermarkets do hold responsibility for ENCOURAGING THE USE of plastic and packaging, they also have the potential, although never considered before, to encourage and provide incentives to producers and consumers to reduce their plastic quantities or eliminate it all together.
Following “Barcode v/s Plastic Waste”, Governments should request supermarkets to be responsible for all plastic recollection associated with products they sell, while Public Administration would maintain the duty of control: the barcode which identifies any item sold, offers the possibility to track and account all plastics, containers or packaging by simply adding these information into the barcode.
Having the package information -weight and material composition- inside the barcode will offer an extremely easy way to obtain the necessary data to apply follow-up control over its recollection. We would be able to monitor the recyclable materials per gram through the entire transaction system in real-time, allowing us to review any cash register day by day. Having the package information (weight and material composition) inside the same barcode will offer an extremely easy way to obtain the necessary data to apply follow-up control over its recollection. (i.e. PET 2/45gr. – PET5/75gr. – etc.)
This new recycling process could reach the full capacity in three years, requesting 30% of plastic recollection quantity the first year, 60% the second 90-100% the third.
Considering that from the very first year, supermarkets would very likely push producers to introduce dispensers with refilling containers wherever possible, we would have a considerable reduction of single use plastic at the very beginning.
Along with a necessary law, just new software and a new logistic inside supermarkets will be enough to produce the change. By simply adding future trash into the same barcode already used on any item sold, we would transform millions of negative actions into positive, preventing the loss of tons of raw material with a final reduction of petrol demand. This information would be provided just as the cash register’s account balance appears at the end of the day. Supermarket cash registers are the last control in the commercial process.
Full length proposal is available here