Tiny plastics (also referred to as sachets), such as coffee creamer packets, laundry detergent pods and candy wrappers, are large contributors to Asia’s waste crisis. They cannot be easily recycled, and they are ending up in empty fields, sewers and waterways in areas like Manila.
In an effort to reduce this influx of plastic waste, manufacturers in Manila are investing in plans to transform used plastic into products like bricks, tiles and classroom chairs, according to Los Angeles Times. In addition, Western consumer good companies are working to reduce the use of sachets and make them more easily recyclable.
Los Angeles Times has more information:
Two dozen children fanned out along a creek near their elementary school, filling sacks with litter left by residents of the concrete shacks lining the waterway.
When they’d finished the morning cleanup, the students emptied a large garbage bag to study its contents. A stream of shiny plastic scraps spilled onto the school’s driveway.
Bearing the names of familiar international brands of coffee creamer, biscuits, laundry detergent and candy, the discarded packaging illustrated one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Asia’s booming cities. The palm-sized packets known as sachets have exploded in emerging economies, allowing low-income consumers to buy single servings of almost any product.