In recent years, the ocean plastic waste problem has become a worldwide concern, especially after more and more people saw the picture that shows the straws stabbed into sea turtles’ noses or the dead whales with a massive amount of plastic packaging in their stomachs.
The USA and Japan consume massive amounts of disposable plastic products every year, and most of the waste plastic products are exported to China instead of being recycled domestically. From January 2018, affected by China’s ban on waste plastic importation, the USA and Japan had to learn how to deal with waste plastic products domestically.
During the G7 summit meeting held in Canada in 2018, participants adopted the ‘Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Communities that outlines commitments related to resilient coasts and coastal communities’ to solve ocean plastic waste problems. Moreover, England, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the EU also signed on the ‘Ocean Plastic Charter’ to further strengthen plastic management. Meanwhile, it is noticeable that neither the USA nor Japan signed the charter.
On the other hand, most ocean plastic waste was generated from China and Southeast Asian counties such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Only with the advanced countries cooperating with developing countries can the ocean plastic waste problem be solved on a global scale. Moreover, since the microplastic waste problem has not been investigated thoroughly, the situation has not been revealed yet. Although Japan has tried to solve these problems by charging consumers for plastic bags and disposable containers, such issues cannot be solved completely by mere laws or regulations.
This chapter will introduce residents’ waste discharging characteristics, their cooperation behavior towards waste plastic recycling, issues related to ocean plastic waste, advanced waste plastic selection technology, and the importance of environmental education. In fact, these are essential in achieving effective plastic recycling, and the lack of any single element of these would seriously damage its effectiveness.