- Sustainable Queen
WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS TO THE PLASTIC CRISIS?
Despite numerous beach and sea clean ups, endless promises from politicians, plastic banning in many countries and initiatives from community organizers, plastic remains a serious problem that we must face.
How can we address this issue in order to find solutions to the plastic crisis?
Read our blog post to learn more.
1. Maximize Ocean clean ups
Ocean clean-ups would not have happened if we had not polluted in the first place. Yet, the time is not to analyse what could have been done but rather what we could do to limit the damage done to our oceans.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which lies between California and Hawaii, represents the largest accumulation of plastic in the oceans. Dutch engineers, directed by a 24-year-old Dutch inventor, Boyan Slat, have developed an ocean cleaning system called “System 001”. This system is a huge 600-meter-long floating waste collector which gathers plastic in a 3-meter-deep skirt.
Using computer simulations and scale models, the team plans to collect plastic every few months by using and testing their technology at sea. Despite the many criticisms from some people, there is much hope for this technology and the wonders it is capable of doing to reduce and eliminate plastic from our ocean.
2. Encourage plastic bank
Have you ever heard of the Plastic Bank? It’s a social enterprise that pays above-market prices for plastic waste to encourage people to collect plastic and exchange it for cash or other items with monetary value. This initiative fights poverty, allows people to earn an income, cleans the streets and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in the oceans, all at the same time. Plastic Bank aims to make plastic so valuable that instead of being thrown away, it could be turned into currency. The company then sells the plastic to corporate clients, who pay about three times the normal cost of plastic in several regions such as Haiti, Brazil and the Philippines.
3. Create roads from plastics
If the plastic cannot be completely eradicated, we could as well reuse it and turn it into something useful. Have you heard about the “PlasticRoad”?
“PlasticRoad” is a project from the Netherlands that aims to reuse and recycle plastic bottles, cups and packaging to build a road. Why burn them and send them to the landfill knowing that they will take a decade to biodegrade when you could recycle them into roads, which would be much more efficient for an entire community and the planet?
For now, the road uses only 70% recycled plastic, but future versions plan to use 100%. Plastic is said to be even more durable than asphalt itself, quicker to install and requires less heavy equipment, which also reduces the carbon footprint. The use of plastic in road construction is, therefore, a sustainable alternative and positive use of this non-biodegradable material.
4. Replace plastic with seaweed
As many countries move towards “zero plastic”, alternatives to plastic must be therefore used and found. Bioplastics are made from food waste, vegetable oils and fats, wood chips, among others. A new alternative for packaging such as sandwich wrappers and coffee bags, among others, is made from seaweed. This is a revolutionary form of the packaging used by Indonesians. Not only can it be dissolved in hot water or, to reduce waste to zero, but the packaging is also edible, sustainable and nutritious.
5. Dissolve plastic with fungus
The major concern with plastic is that it doesn’t decompose or biodegrade.
Scientists have discovered a fungus, mushroom-like called Aspergillus tubingensis, which has a planet life-saving property: the enzyme it secretes can dissolve plastic.
A key solution to address this problem would be to use it to dissolve plastic in landfills.
To protect ecosystems and biodiversity, countries must dramatically slow the production of plastic.
To do this, individually and collectively, we all need to improve waste collection and management, encourage a transition to alternatives to plastic, and engage in unprecedented clean-up efforts to eliminate the plastic waste that is currently spreading on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere.
In this blog post, we’ve listed some examples of solutions to this dramatic problem for our planet that is the plastic crisis.
Our call to action starts now!
Previous: TOP 10 reasons why you should support local businesses.