We still remember the childhood days when guests would pick up a glass bottle of cola drink from the shopkeeper and he would say that he would get the rest of the money when he returned the bottle. Most of the shopkeepers used to give the bottle in advance and return the money when the bottle was returned. In those days a bottle cost ten rupees and its advance was up to five rupees. But as time changed, so did the nature of life.
In the beginning, when plastic bottles started arriving, we used to collect them and use them for other household chores, but over time, they started to increase and then at some point, everyone came in the trash. Only prominent plastic bottles began to appear. Bhanta Bhanta plastic bottles, some had ketchup, some had syrup, some had water. In the beginning, even the junk man did not buy these empty bottles, so they started to increase the garbage and as soon as they saw it, they started playing an important role in making Karachi a garbage dump. Due to this garbage, people started calling Karachi garbage, which is unfortunate.
Millions of tons of garbage are generated in Karachi on a daily basis. And waste is also considered the most dangerous plastic waste. Plastic waste has been described as a “global threat”. According to the WWF, 15 tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every minute, posing a threat to marine life, and many species are becoming extinct.
Because of this growing threat, the international community is encouraging plans to recycle or recycle plastics. The European Commission has set a 2029 target for recycling of plastic bottles up to 90%, while Norway has a recycling rate of 97% for plastic bottles. That is, Norway has achieved this goal 10 years before the due date. Because in Norway, after buying a soft drink and putting the bottle back in the vending machine, a lottery ticket is given to the customer as a reward to encourage this process. Norway is followed by France and the United Kingdom, where 60% of plastic bottles are recycled. In some US states, empty plastic bottles and cans of soft drinks are reimbursed. The system was introduced in the United States in the 1970s. Currently, ten of the fifty states in the United States have plastic bottles There are rules that charge the consumer five to ten US cents for returning empty cans and plastic bottles to the public. In many US states, the return rate on plastic bottles and cans is as high as 90 percent, and companies whose bottles and cans do not reach the recycling machine spend the money on cleaning up in that state.
The point here is to understand that the money being returned to the consumer was already received in the form of a bottle with a drink and the best thing is that these private companies are doing their part in cleaning up the city. The point here is to understand that the money being returned to the consumer was already received in the form of a bottle with a drink. As in the nineties, regular drinks found in glass bottles were cheaper, and disposable drinks were more expensive.
After Europe, other countries have also started working in this regard. Similarly, a video of a “reverse vending machine” was received by our Prime Minister Imran Khan from Singapore last year, in which people were getting coupons by pouring empty bottles, which he sent to Special Assistant for Environment Malik Amin Aslam and instructions. Continue to work in this regard. Earlier this year, the well-known beverage company announced the country’s largest plastic collection and recycling project under the Prime Minister’s “Clean Green Pakistan Program”, the first of which began with the city government.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a “reverse vending machine” for recycling plastics has been installed in the Round Market, Sector F-Seven, Islamabad, in which you can get 100 for any empty plastic bottle. A Rs. Coupon, which will give you a discount of Rs. 100 at any KFC branch in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. According to the details, its location will be changed from time to time so that people in every area of the city can avail this facility and there are reports of five more machines being installed in the twin cities. Although it is still a pilot project, the goal is to recycle 10,000 tons of plastic. If this goal is met and the people make this eco-friendly project a success, similar machines will be installed in other cities as well.
There are big profit making water and beverage companies in Pakistan, which spend crores of rupees annually on advertisements alone. But their involvement in public interest projects with the government is like cumin in a camel’s mouth. If these beverage companies and manufacturers are obliged to be part of such a scheme, because the price of the bottle they have received with the beverage, if they return it for plastic recycling, then Will benefit and the raw material for making them plastic will be available at lower prices.
A unique program of its kind was devised in 2019 by a beverage company, in partnership with a well-known beverage company and the WWF. In which empty bottles were taken from the people and rewards were given to them, which promoted the recycling of empty bottles and the people deposited a large number of empty bottles in this “plastic hut”.
There is a need for the government to work on this project on an emergency basis and to make all beverage companies and manufacturers part of this system and to have “reverse vending machines” near shopping malls and supermarkets in major cities of Pakistan. Or set up “plastic hut” style camps where people can come once a week to buy other items in exchange for their empty bottles and cans or give some cash. If this system is implemented in a systematic manner, we can be instrumental in saving and rehabilitating the environment.
According to experts, plastic bottles cause toxic chemicals to enter the soil, which pollutes the ground and water. Recycling plastic bottles is a good practice because plastic particles can stay in the ground for thousands of years. Recycling of plastic bottles will reduce waste in landfills, conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing energy conservation and pollution. The recycling process will also help reduce pollution on roads and streets, while reducing air pollution. If private companies also understand their responsibility in such projects and the people support them, then together we can eliminate the pollution of the environment in Pakistan.