Plastic plastic plastic . Yet again I am back talking about this topic...
Even if the zero waste movement has taken over a bit , and more and more we hear talking about reusables or bring your own at parties (even better now with COVID , I have my spoon fork knife all in one tool which has become a loyal companion). It really is not enough...
Even worse , I have met recently an 'around the world sailor' and she told me that the plastic soup is nothing like what I imagined, it’s really more like an actual soup, made of tiny bits rather than big items. And well , it goes without saying that a lot gets ingested by us - apparently something like a credit card worth a week . A week . Can’t be healthy . Or who knows . It will be the next fad diet ?
This long pre amble to say that plastic is still a big issue. But what can be done?
Is it enough to do a few ‘swaps ‘? Is it enough to put in the recycling bin? Is it the case to choose some plastics rather than other !? Or feel better to ‘reuse it forever’? Maybe making some jewellery out of it or other endeavours ?
Well. Thankfully some scientists have thought of analysing what the best actions would be. They made a forecast model (which is still only a model and should be taken as such ...) and published it in science . You can read the full article here , but I will try to summarise some of the findings (or my own interpretation of them...)
First, let me show you the main graph
The red is the business as usual , and you can see it’s not looking great. The other scenarios they considered included Collect and Dispose” scenario (CDS), ‘Recycling’ scenario (RES), ‘Reduce and Substitute’ scenario (RSS), and ‘System Change’ scenario (SCS).
It's quite easy to you can see the best path would be the system change scenario , that implemented the entire suite of interventions. In fact in the paper they say that Neither pre- nor post-consumption interventions alone are sufficient to address the plastic problem.
It’s worth noting that just upping recycling efforts - is NOT gonna make that much of a change. So stop buying that plastic because ‘you will recycle it later’. Try to buy something else instead..
Also, let's bear in mind , as detailed very well in the article , that there are many different types of plastic and the flexible types which are amongst the most used are not so recyclable. So we shoudld push for the use of more recyclable types. And of course, push for money in research effort to manage all the plastics we have created and became too dependent upon.. According to the authors, finding an economically viable solution to effectively manage flexible plastics will be essential for solving the plastic pollution problem.
Some other solutions and costs evaluations are provided by the authors.. so i truly recommend that you engage with the full text..
The take home ' good news ' here is that it is reversible , but only though urgent and coordinated action combining pre- and post-consumption solutions.
Keep this in mind when you are voting .
And keep those swaps up!
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