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Plastics

Projects &  Industry Impact

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues, as the rapid surge in the production of disposable plastic products overwhelm the world’s ability to with deal with their end-of-life.

Each minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the oceans. It has become clear that the issue of single-use plastics has led to a global crisis.

 

The convenience the plastic offers has led to a throw-away culture, influenced by consumerism. Many items like packaging, bags, and food wrappers have a lifespan of a few minutes to a couple of hours, yet they persist in the environment for hundreds of years.

We must rethink our design, production, and use of plastic products. We require solutions that lead to sustainable behaviour change. The two key elements for this are (1) global awareness and advocacy, and (2) strong policies and leadership.

Image by Possessed Photography

Global awareness

Designers, manufacturers, investors, traders, miners, raw material producers, consumers, policy-makers, and others have a crucial role to play in reducing waste, retaining value within the system, and extending the economic and physical life of an item. It is time to change the linear system to a circular one. The opportunities in taking advantage of this are endless and will provide a great competitive advantage to those who seize it.

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Strong policies and leadership

The rise of service business models and better product tracking and take-back can lead to global circular value chains. Material efficiency, recycling infrastructure, and scale-up in the volume and quality of recycled materials are essential.

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The concept for a circular economy within the plastics industry contains six key points:

  1. Eliminate excessive and unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models

  2. Create reuse models and apply them where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging

  3. Make all plastic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable

  4. Make sure all plastic packaging is reused, recycled, or composted

  5. Decouple the use of plastic from the consumption of finite resources

  6. Make sure all plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety, and rights of all people involved are respected

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