Plastic Pollution Solutions

Plastic pollution is one of the most important and urgent issues facing the health of our oceans and the planet.

Before someone reading this starts giving all the reasons why we can’t survive without plastic and pointing out the fact that I’m probably working on something made out of plastic, wearing something made out of plastic, talking on something made out of plastic, driving something that’s full of plastic, writing with something made out of plastic,  watching something made out of plastic, eating something that was wrapped in plastic, using things that were delivered in plastic, and all the other things that are involved in your time.

I get it.

Finding the answers to plastic pollution is not going to be easy, but it is absolutely essential.

A handful of people bringing their own grocery bags to the store or refusing to use styrofoam cups is not going to solve the problem.

Although some regulation could help, banning plastic completely is probably  not a practical solution.  It would have massive economic implications not just for business and industry, but also on the poor.  There is clear evidence that shows that the majority of plastic pollution is actually coming from impoverished areas. We can no longer bury our plastic pollution problems in the ground or ship them off to other countries.

An issue as massive as plastic pollution requires a massive solution. It is not going to work unless we get everyone on board.

We have to think bigger and stretch our creativity using multiple angles to find solutions that are much  farther reaching, beyond just people with certain political beliefs and a certain income level.

The only real practical approach is to design circular systems that take into consideration the entire life cycle of the plastic.

Recycling has been a failure. Less than 9 percent of certain types of plastic gets recycled.  Now that China is no longer accepting solid waste from other countries, that modest figure is sure to shrink. Recycling centers are in crisis mode.

Producers of plastics, the companies that use them and consumers all have a role to play. Government has a role to play as well.

Instead of “out sight out of mind” attitudes, companies need to take responsibility for what happens to the plastic once it leaves their warehouses. This idea can immediately cause consternation to businesses that are always thinking about cutting expenses and staying competitive.

The price of complacency is far worse.  Plastic pollution is already costing us billions in its devastation of marine fisheries, contamination of beaches and waterways, destruction of communities, food poisoning and more. We are paying not only with money, but also with the extinction of species, human health and quality of life.

A multilateral approach to address the issue could minimize any costs if spread across stakeholders.

There are also opportunities to generate new revenues.

Governments should incentivize both best practices and innovations for businesses and consumers to break the cycle of  plastic pollution and create a new regenerative cycle of longevity and prosperity for all people.

Share your ideas on solving the plastic issues…


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