COP26: A Ray of Hope, or Recycling the Same Old Message?

COP26, the annual UN Climate Change Conference, is getting underway in Glasgow, UK, bringing together global leaders to increase momentum towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Before it even began, it was hailed as many things, including the world’s ‘moment of truth’ by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and a potential ‘big leap forward’ according to US special envoy for climate John Kerry. The Economist predicts the conference will be both ‘crucial and disappointing’. 


Crucial, it can be argued, because these international forums and the organisations behind them are integral to helping our economies move away from dependence on fossil fuels, as resource scarcity continues to bite. As UK Prime Minister prepared to host COP26 on his home turf, he referenced the importance of reducing consumption and notably said that ‘recycling isn’t the answer.'


Was he right? Some environmental professionals certainly didn’t think so, but while dismissing all recycling isn’t the right position to take, to really reckon with the overwhelming scourge of plastic pollution, we do need to prevent waste generation at the source. Simply recycling the plastic that we use really isn’t the answer, it needs to be in conjunction with a significant mindset shift in the way we think about the everyday products and materials we use. 


What does that mean for the industries that need large-format banner materials? The lack of curb side recycling schemes means banner recycling is carried out by private collection and treatment for a fee. Even then, only the polyester base fabric can be recycled, meaning the film, from both PVC and PVC-free banners, is incinerated or disposed of in landfill. Although it’s important that we don’t rely on the process too heavily, recycling is still an important element and one of the many crucial steps as we ramp up our fight against climate change. Each square metre of KAVALAN PVC-free materials are up to 60 percent recyclable, compared with just 30 to 35 percent of PVC banner.


As KAVALAN has asserted many times, switching to a PVC-free alternative is such a simple swap that can make a monumental difference. When we talk about the importance of mitigating our depletion of natural resources, it might not be the change that comes to mind first, but when you consider that a move to KAVALAN immediately reduces its consumption of the planet’s resources by 50 percent, you may start thinking differently. That’s just the material itself; consider the reduction in environmental impact through transportation and handling when you consider KAVALAN banner is up to 45 percent lighter than its PVC counterparts. 


The world will be watching Glasgow with a hopeful eye, awaiting meaningful pledges from world leaders and inspiration for the rest of us as we keep looking for new ways to play our part in fighting for the future of our planet. 

Inspired to make a switch that’s good for your business and the planet? Go for KAVALAN now

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