Is a sweet wrapper hazardous waste?

Well-intentioned restrictions can hurt efforts to reduce plastic use

A plastic water bottle, a Snickers wrapper and a container of detergent are dropped into a recycling bin. Are they hazardous waste? They could be, according to a Norwegian government proposal, which marks the latest effort by activists and government officials to tackle the growing tide of plastics threatening the ocean.

The proposal has good intentions: It aims to mitigate the overflow of plastics across the globe, which surged when China stopped importing recycled materials last year. But it's not going to save the oceans.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2019, with the headline 'Is a sweet wrapper hazardous waste?'. Print Edition | Subscribe