According to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, […] “around 320,000 disposable cups are consumed hourly for hot drinks in Germany alone — up to 140,000 of these are to-go cups.”
The alternative to plastic disposables are disposables made of bamboo or paper. The trouble is that cardboard and paper products cause almost as much damage to the environment. Their production also requires large amounts of chemicals, energy and water. Wood products are no less problematic; after all, wood is overexploited globally. It is therefore particularly important to trace the origin of wood products, even if this is not always easy. Disposables made from bagasse (fibrous press residues from cane sugar) and palm leaves also pollute the environment, although not quite as much as cardboard or paper.
So for the time being, the plastics ban does not change the actual problem — it does not decrease the mountains of rubbish. Waste and pollution are only being transferred, they are not being reduced. Basically, the consumer is just exchanging one kind of disposable product for another. Also, bear in mind that it’s not only plastics that are harmful to animals in the field – bagasse, which is considered biodegradable, is also a problem. Bagasse can only be composted in specific industrial conditions, which are certainly not present at motorway service stations or at the bottom of the sea.
Sensible strategies to tackle waste
Of course, we should avoid disposable products wherever possible. So much for the theory. In practice, however, there are many areas, both for industry and for individual consumers, where the use of plastics is unavoidable. This means that the need to recycle or reuse plastic remains as great as ever. It is therefore important to balance the use of plastic with the avoidance of waste. This entails above all proper recycling and the consistent implementation of the Circular Economy Act.
Our pioneering recycling plants process mixed plastics in an almost CO2-neutral way to enable them to be reused. This means that the plastic does not end up in the sea, in landfills or in the forest and is not burnt in an environmentally damaging way. It simply stays in the system and thus reduces the consumption of petroleum for plastic production, for example.
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ENESPA AG will generate positive cash flow starting with the first investment. By operating several facilities simultaneously, revenues increase disproportionately and, accordingly, so does the value of the company. There is great demand for this technology. 18 locations in Germany are interested in operating a facility at this time.
The business development fund of the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park is very interested in the ENESPA project. Following a thorough investigation, the responsible development bank declared the project eligible for funding. The project will be supported by the development bank once the approval process is completed. The approval process is in progress. (As of July 2020)
The aim is for the first 5,000 kg/day facility in the industrial park to be commissionedby the end of 2020. As soon as this facility is in reliable operation, ENESPA will build another ten facilities and then gradually expand to forty facilities. The ten facilities are expected to be fully operational by the end of 2021.