The Intersection of Climate-related Disclosures and PLA Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities

Alfred Tang

Alfred Tang

Mar 07, 20243 min read

0

The Intersection of Climate-related Disclosures and PLA Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities

Introduction:

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on climate-related disclosures and sustainable practices. Two significant developments in this realm are the IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures and the TCFD Recommendations. At the same time, the issue of PLA (Polylactic Acid) recycling has garnered attention due to its classification as a non-recyclable plastic in certain regions. This article aims to explore the common points between these two subjects and shed light on the challenges and opportunities they present.

Climate-related Disclosures and PLA Recycling:

The IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures and the TCFD Recommendations both emphasize the importance of disclosing climate-related risks and opportunities. These frameworks provide guidance for companies to assess and disclose information related to climate change, enabling investors and stakeholders to make informed decisions. On the other hand, PLA recycling faces challenges due to inadequate recycling infrastructure and public awareness. PLA, a biodegradable plastic, is often treated as non-recyclable waste, hindering its potential for circularity.

Lack of Legislation and Infrastructure:

One of the key challenges for PLA recycling is the absence of legislation and proper infrastructure. While PLA is biodegradable under specific conditions, there are no established recycling or composting mechanisms in place. Without legal provisions and a well-functioning backend composting system, PLA often ends up in landfills, similar to traditional plastics. The lack of secondary use or composting options further hinders the effective management of PLA waste.

Confusion with Traditional Plastics:

PLA's classification as a non-recyclable plastic adds to the confusion surrounding its disposal. In traditional plastic recycling, various types are categorized under different classes. PLA, being an additional category, only adds to the complexity of plastic waste management. Moreover, PLA shares similarities with other plastics like PET and PP, making it challenging for consumers to differentiate between them and dispose of them correctly.

Biodegradability vs. Composting Ability:

While PLA is biodegradable, the process of composting it requires specific conditions and timeframes. For instance, the EN 13432 standard states that plastic materials subjected to controlled composting conditions should disintegrate into fragments smaller than two millimeters within three months. Additionally, 90% of organic matter in the plastic should convert to carbon dioxide within six months. The resulting compost is then tested for biotoxicity to ensure its suitability for plant growth. These requirements highlight the importance of maintaining stable composting conditions, including temperature control, regular watering, and aeration.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Improve Legislation and Infrastructure: Governments and regulatory bodies need to prioritize the development of legislation and infrastructure for PLA recycling. Clear guidelines for recycling and composting PLA, along with the establishment of composting facilities, will enable the effective management of biodegradable plastics.
  • 2. Enhance Public Awareness and Education: Public awareness plays a crucial role in sustainable waste management. Educating consumers about the differences between PLA and traditional plastics, as well as the proper disposal methods, can help increase the recycling rate of PLA. Collaborative efforts between government bodies, NGOs, and businesses can facilitate public awareness campaigns.
  • 3. Encourage Industry Collaboration: Collaboration among stakeholders, including manufacturers, waste management companies, and composting facilities, is essential for a comprehensive PLA recycling system. By working together, these entities can create a closed-loop system where PLA waste is efficiently collected, recycled, and transformed into compost or reused in other applications.

Conclusion:

The comparison between climate-related disclosures and PLA recycling reveals the need for cohesive efforts to address sustainability challenges. While the IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures and TCFD Recommendations guide companies in disclosing climate-related risks, the recycling of PLA faces hurdles due to inadequate legislation and infrastructure. By improving legislation, enhancing public awareness, and fostering industry collaboration, we can pave the way for a more sustainable approach to PLA recycling. Only through collective action can we achieve a circular economy that minimizes plastic waste and promotes responsible climate-related disclosures.

Resource:

  1. "ifrs-s2-comparison-tcfd-july2023.pdf", https://www.ifrs.org/content/dam/ifrs/supporting-implementation/ifrs-s2/ifrs-s2-comparison-tcfd-july2023.pdf (Glasp)
  2. "8/1起八大類場所不可使用PLA,為何明明是「生物可分解塑膠」卻被禁用? - The News Lens 關鍵評論網", https://www.thenewslens.com/article/189587 (Glasp)

Want to hatch new ideas?

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)