The call to ban plastic products is a simplistic response to a complex problem. What’s required is a rational solution to the genuine crisis of plastic pollution, not an emotional reaction. While it’s tempting to imagine a world without plastic as some sort of environmental utopia, plastic in consumer goods uses four times less energy than alternative materials such as metal, paper and glass. In fact, alternatives to plastic packaging would nearly double greenhouse gas emissions. Plastic — if disposed of correctly — is one of the most environmentally friendly products available. And this is where the solution to plastic pollution can be found: in the correct disposal and management of plastic waste. We need the government to urgently fix SA’s inadequate waste management facilities and improve infrastructure for collection and recycling. It could create thousands of jobs while safeguarding the 100,000 formal and informal jobs that the plastics industry provides. The government can do...

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