Globally to date, there is about 8.3 billion tons of plastic in the world – some 6.3 billion tons of that is trash. Imagine 55 million jumbo jets and that's how much plastic exists here. In 1950, we created 2 million tons a year, which increased 200-fold by 2015.

🤯 That's a Lot of Plastic 🤯

So what's the solution?

What is a Circular Economy?

A sustainable business model that aims to eliminate waste in industrial systems through recycling, reduction, reuse, and recovery.

Circular Business Model Image

References

Geissdoerfer, M. Pieroni, M. Pigosso, D. Soufani, K.. (2020). Circular business models: A review. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 277.
Hart, J., Pomponi, F. . (2021). A Circular Economy: Where Will It Take Us?. Circ.Econ.Sust. 1, 127–141 .
. (2021). Designing out Plastic Pollution. Ellen Macarthur Foundation.
Mah, A.. (2021). Future-Proofing Capitalism: The Paradox of the Circular Economy for Plastics. Global Environmental Politics 2021; 21 (2): 121–142.

This is a challenging task, but one worth taking on. If we don't act now, what would be left of the natural resources we have -- especially our seas? We're already seeing the effects of our high production and poor recycling of plastic. It just makes sense to find a way to circle it back so we don't put anything to waste.

Interesting challenge here! I think that I’m general the issue with plastics just like many of our other environmental issues the tragedy of the commons plagues our society. I think that if we were to simply have the mass of people and corporations actually commit to implementing environmentally beneficial and sustainable practices we would actually start to see small changes. Unfortunately with not enough laws in place to set these large corps straight and not too many people who feel like saving the earth isn’t there problem this will be hard to accomplish. Not to mention that the actual process of recycling can also be dangerous for the environment. So many factors to consider!!! Difficult, but never impossible.

The idea of taking action before laws are ever put to place might be effective as well, since as a collective body we would have the mindset of change rather than just having to follow for the sake of rules. Well, I would encourage a law to still be passed as soon as possible as that would help too.

This is such an important problem to tackle. I have lots of personal feelings about the destruction of our environment, but when it comes to plastics, I find it eternally frustrating that corporations put the impetus on consumers to make the big changes. And yes, while we can absolutely take individual responsibility, and we should, we have corporations seemingly working against us to make it difficult. For example, most people don't realize that mixed material packaging is unrecyclable, unless we, as consumers, separate the different materials. Pasta boxes that have the clear windows are unrecyclable, unless we, the consumer, takes the box apart to separate the plastic window from the cardboard, and then recycle them separately. That's just one of many examples! The big changes need to start with corporations. Hopefully one day they will really start to be held accountable. Until then, we will continue to do our part. Every little bit helps!

Corporations are the huge culprit for the waste. While individuals can do their share too, corporations have a bigger impact and reach on their actions. So it really is a collective order rather than a he said she said arrangement.

Take action! I know that I dont always recycle but as a family we try our best! For example we have used the same laundry jug and 5 gallon bucket for the past 4 years and make our own laundry detergent. We use refillable water bottles, we recycle metals and use cloth wipes and napkins. I try to teach my children about the effects of waste on our planet and ways they can clean up around our community. We buy local from our farmers market and use locally made cleaning products that you just add water to and we dont need to have them in plastic containers. You can also buy shampoo bars. Its about the little things you do everyday that add up to big things in the long run.

When it comes to recycling, we have to take responsibility as individuals. I worked for a company for year's that has recycle bins and only half of the staff would use it. There needs to be better systems in place for more people to recycle.

Bottom line something needs to be done about the waste. We have to think about the containers we use and what is being done with it as trash. We are all responsible.

I agree with the systems in place, a way to make it easier to recycle. Its discouraging to recycle when your local neighborhood doesn't have trashcans that allow you to separate your trash. (Oh trust me, there are neighborhoods like these that couldn't care less about how the trash goes).

Capitalism and its rampant consumerism will be the death of us! I'm not suggesting an alternative because I don't believe there is a viable one. But we must reduce our waste to keep our planet liveable.

We can solve plastic pollution by having more public places to recycle, having a better system for waste management, and by reducing our reliance on single-use plastics. We need to be more conscious of the amount of plastic we use and how we can reduce our consumption. We also need to be more mindful of how we dispose of plastic and make sure that it gets recycled properly. Let's work together to solve this problem!

Yeah, we should work together in solving this. Public officials for one can partner with local companies in the area to promote this initiative. Public-private initiatives go a long way, and I can imagine how much of a difference that would make if they would collaborate in making a system that is easier for us to recycle the plastic.

Thank you for the explanation of a circular economy (many don't know what that is). I do hope we find a viable solution to plastic soon.

In regards to recycling and creating eco-friendly products, I have always wondered how much of the responsibility falls on the individual (every day people like you and I) and how much of it falls on mega corporations. So I can appreciate that the concept of a 'circular economy' seems to have a special focus on tackling things on an industrial level.
The thought of having more plastic in the ocean than fish is unimaginable to me...I definitely hope to be part of the solution.