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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

The issue around plastic contamination is pressing and widespread. Existing solutions to address the issue are disjointed and only have a limited short-term impact on the release of plastics into the environment. Momentum to scale up international operations is increasing. Switching to a circular economy addresses both the stage before and the stage after a product has reached the buyer and ensures responsibility over the effects that the product may engender throughout its lifecycle.

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Strong policies and leadership

An effective and encompassing implementation of a circular economy is a shared responsibility across governments and stakeholders and requires the active involvement of a broad audience. Strong policies and leadership are important to support and empower national and local entities to adopt circular practices based on shared understandings and goals.

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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

Image by charlesdeluvio

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