Michael Stephen Column

Oxford Analytica, Indonesia, Paper is not the Answer (FREE)

Today Michael talks about Oxford Analytica, Indonesia, Paper is not the answer. This is a FREE article


On 19th July Oxford Analytica published a paper saying “The world produces plastic, notably single-use material, faster than it can recycle or safely dispose of it.  Annual global production of plastics will reach 475 million tonnes (mt) this year, more than double the 234 mt produced in 2000, according to OECD projections published in June. At 379 mt, the emission of plastic waste will show an increase of almost 250% over the same period. Both growth rates outstripped that of global GDP and are forecast to more than double again by 2050 unless there is policy change.”

The policy change which is really needed is to stop making products with ordinary polyethylene or polypropylene, and to require them to be made with d2w biodegradable technology so that they will rapidly biodegrade leaving no microplastics or harmful residues, instead of lying or floating around for many decades.

Oxford Analytica do not seem to be aware of this technology, or the fact that it is mandatory in the Middle East.


I have noticed that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program, joined Circulate Capital, an impact-focused investment management firm, and Prevent Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia (POPSEA), a plastic recycling company that is developing sorting and collection infrastructure in underserved communities across Indonesia, in announcing a partnership to expand collection and recycling infrastructure in Indonesia to generate high-quality, traceable recycled plastic.

This is all very well, but you cannot recycle plastic unless it has been collected, and despite their best efforts they will not prevent a significant amount escaping into the oceans.  The Indonesian Government needs to ban ordinary polyethylene and polypropylene products without further delay and require them to be made with d2w biodegradable technology.


2 Jul 2022 — An article in Packaging Insights said that “As unprecedented heat waves sweep across Europe, putting much of the continent on alert for droughts, experts are warning that the paper packaging industry is inadvertently contributing to one of the most serious impacts of climate change: water loss. 

This problem is caused, in part, by the massive uptick in businesses replacing plastics with fiber-based materials in efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based resources and advertise their carbon emissions reductions. In 2021, Innova Market Insights labelled this trend the “Fiber-based Frenzy.” 

According to the Environmental Paper Network (EPN), the average sheet of A4 paper swallows at least 20 litres of water. In some nations, this takes up 10% of the country’s entire water supply. Over half of the world’s paper supply is used in packaging, and due to the transport and disposal issues, a 2013 EPN study even suggested that paper could produce more greenhouse gas emissions than the aviation industry. 

Tamara Stark, campaigns director of forest conservation network Canopy, told Packaging Insightsthat “companies who are making the necessary shift from plastic but are choosing to replace that with paper packaging are trading one environmental disaster for another.” 

I don’t agree that a shift away from plastic is necessary. Plastic has been found to have the best functionality and LCA https://www.biodeg.org/subjects-of-interest/life-cycle-assessments/ of all packaging materials.  It is necessary only to make the plastic so that it does not lie or float around in the environment for decades.

Michael Stephen

Michael Stephen is a lawyer and was a member of the United Kingdom Parliament, where he served on the Environment Select Committee. When he left Parliament Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc. attracted his attention because of his interest in the environment. He is now Deputy Chairman of Symphony, which is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, and is the founder and Chairman of the Biodegradable Plastics Association.

Earlier Postings in this Column

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The opinions expressed here by Michael Stephen and other columnists are their own, not those of Bioplasticsnews.com.

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