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Life Cycle Thinking as a Legal Tool: A Codex Rerum

Malcolm, Rosalind (2019) Life Cycle Thinking as a Legal Tool: A Codex Rerum Law, Environment and Development Journal, 15. pp. 1-17.

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All creatures including birds, animals and humans are at risk from plastic waste in the environment and the challenge of preventing it entering rivers, oceans, the atmosphere and land is urgent requiring our full attention.1 Yet, at the same time, plastics are a valuable material for preserving food, and they are used in textiles, transportation, construction and personal care products. Indeed, a world without plastics is unimaginable. The challenge then, is to deal with the escape of waste plastics in a way which enhances the circular economy – a closed-loop system where endof-service-life-objects become a resource. For most plastics like packaging, closed-loop systems already exist which can be improved through increasing collection and reuse/recycling. However, there are also uncontrolled losses of plastic materials that happen as “fugitive” emissions like tyre-wear or when laundering garments made from plastic. The problem of plastics waste is linked to the issue of mass consumption in the industrialised world, which has led to increasing production, the proliferation of goods, and the generation of waste. In highly industrialised societies, products are often treated as throwaway or ‘single-use’ items which not only increase the waste burden including fugitive emissions during their use phase, but also use raw materials in their manufacture thereby depleting the virgin resources of the planet. In the developing world, these problems exist too but are often exacerbated by the import and accumulation of plastic waste from the global north despite recent bans on such trade.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Law
Authors :
Date : 23 August 2019
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 04 Sep 2019 07:52
Last Modified : 04 Sep 2019 07:52

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