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    Russia Plastic Waste Problem


    by NTDTelevision

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    And now we go to Russia, where plastic bag waste is engulfing the nation. Many countries have already restricted the use of polyethylene, the material used in plastic bags, but not yet Russia. Our Moscow correspondents bring us the details of what's being done to combat this problem.

    Russia is getting snowed under by plastic bags.

    In Moscow alone, about 4 billion plastic bags are used every year. They account for 10% of all municipal solid waste. And this year's production of polyethylene - the stuff the bags are made of - is up by 15%.

    Key in fight against the plastic snowstorm has been stopping free distribution of plastic bags in supermarkets.

    This shop has done just that, with results to show. The consumption of plastic bags has declined here tenfold over three years.

    This plastic bag producer says that part of the waste problem lies in the attitude of higher end stores, where bags are still given out for free.

    [Maxim Rogozhko, Plastic Bag Manufacturer]:
    "All the shops of middle and higher price category give these bags for free, and this kind of thinking is common among consumers and the staff of these stores also."

    Recycling is another way to reduce the amount of polyethylene ending up as waste in the environment.

    Many supermarkets give their plastics to be processed.

    But today only one twentieth of the total waste is being used for recycling.

    [Maxim Rogozhko, Plastic Bag Manufacturer]:
    "For many recycling means something bad. We collect recyclables in chain stores and make garbage bags. Recycling does not mean bad. Recycling is the same plastic bag which has received a second life. "

    The Russian parliament - the Duma - is also weighing in. The Committee of Natural Resources, Environment and Ecology wants to solve the problem of plastic bag pollution by adopting appropriate...