The Intersection of Sustainability and Technology: Exploring Apple's Environmental Initiatives and Taiwan's PLA Ban

Alfred Tang

Alfred Tang

Feb 20, 20244 min read

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The Intersection of Sustainability and Technology: Exploring Apple's Environmental Initiatives and Taiwan's PLA Ban

In recent years, the global conversation surrounding sustainability has gained significant traction. Both individuals and corporations are increasingly recognizing the need to adopt eco-friendly practices and reduce their carbon footprint. Two recent developments that highlight this growing trend are Apple's September Event in 2023 and Taiwan's ban on PLA, a type of biodegradable plastic.

Apple, known for its innovative technology and sleek design, has been making significant strides towards sustainability. At their September Event in 2023, they unveiled their latest product, Wonderlust. What sets Wonderlust apart from its predecessors is its construction. The device features a microtwill made of 68 percent post-consumer recycled content, significantly reducing its carbon emissions.

On the other hand, Taiwan recently implemented a ban on PLA, a type of biodegradable plastic. PLA, which stands for polylactide, is derived from renewable resources such as corn and potatoes. It is often considered a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastics, like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP). However, the ban has raised questions about its disposal and recycling.

One of the primary reasons for Taiwan's ban on PLA is the lack of a comprehensive recycling system and proper composting facilities. While PLA is biodegradable under controlled conditions, such as high temperatures and humidity, Taiwan has yet to establish legislation for the recycling and composting of PLA. This means that even if individuals dispose of PLA correctly, there are no manufacturers capable of reusing or composting it.

Furthermore, the classification and confusion surrounding PLA complicate its disposal. In traditional plastic recycling, there are already six major categories, each requiring specific handling. Adding PLA as a seventh category only adds to the confusion and challenges faced by individuals when discarding plastic waste. Without a complete understanding of recycling concepts and inadequate backend composting mechanisms, PLA often ends up in landfills, similar to non-biodegradable plastics.

To address the issue effectively, it is crucial to establish a comprehensive recycling and composting infrastructure for PLA. Legislation should be put in place to ensure that manufacturers can legally sell recycled PLA products or compost. By closing the loop and enabling the flow of money and resources, PLA can become a truly sustainable option.

Additionally, education and awareness campaigns are essential to instill proper recycling habits and increase the public's understanding of PLA. Providing clear guidelines on how to dispose of PLA and promoting its benefits can encourage more individuals to embrace this biodegradable alternative. Collaboration between government bodies, manufacturers, and the public is key to achieving a higher recycling rate for PLA in Taiwan.

While Apple's Wonderlust and Taiwan's PLA ban may seem unrelated at first glance, they both highlight the growing importance of sustainability in our society. Apple's commitment to using recycled materials in their products demonstrates their dedication to reducing waste and environmental impact. On the other hand, Taiwan's ban on PLA raises questions about the infrastructure needed to support biodegradable plastics and the importance of proper recycling and composting systems.

In conclusion, as we navigate the intersection of sustainability and technology, there are several actionable steps we can take to contribute to a more eco-friendly future:

  • 1. Support companies that prioritize sustainability: By choosing products from companies like Apple that prioritize sustainability and use recycled materials, we can encourage others to follow suit.
  • 2. Advocate for comprehensive recycling infrastructure: It is essential to urge governments and policymakers to establish comprehensive recycling and composting infrastructure for biodegradable plastics like PLA. This will ensure a closed-loop system and reduce environmental impact.
  • 3. Educate and raise awareness: Participate in educational campaigns and initiatives that promote proper recycling practices and highlight the benefits of biodegradable alternatives. By raising awareness, we can inspire others to make sustainable choices.

By incorporating these actionable steps into our daily lives, we can contribute to a more sustainable future for generations to come. Whether it's through supporting companies that prioritize sustainability or advocating for comprehensive recycling infrastructure, every action counts. Let us embrace the intersection of sustainability and technology, working together towards a greener world.

Resource:

  1. " Apple September event 2023: Here’s everything you missed at Wonderlust | Product Hunt", https://www.producthunt.com/stories/september-apple-event-2023-wonderlust-iphone-15?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=product_design_nl (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)

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