If you look around the room where you are sitting, you will likely be able to identify at least ten sources of plastic in less than a minute. If you think about where the plastic will be in a week, month, or a few years, you will likely come to the conclusion that it will end up on a landfill, set to decompose for about 500 years. Within that period of time, it can go on to invade the habitats of hundreds of animals, posing as a fatal hazard to them, as well as emitting toxic chemicals to thousands more.
The damage caused by what has become a goliath of a problem is clear and unacceptable. In spite of this, companies continue to spew out plastic with no end in sight. Fortunately, many people around the world are taking plastic matters into their own hands to come up with different solutions to the problem.
Such a looming problem needs to be tackled from different angles, and luckily, there are many solutions popping in a range of complexity. Perhaps one of the simplest, yet most powerful, ideas are Ecobricks. Ecobricks are essentially a plastic bottle packed up tightly with other loose plastics. The only tool you need to make an Ecobrick is a stick to pack the plastic up tightly in the bottle.
Once Ecobricks are made, they can be used to make furniture, structures, gardens, and more. Similarly, other companies have started using plastics to make buildings, such as houses. Some of these methods are more advanced, where the plastic is melted and molded into different shapes.
In fact, according to the Arch Daily, some plastic bricks have serious benefits: “when assembled under pressure, the bricks insulate heat and have additives that retard combustion. Additionally, they are thermoacoustic and earthquake-resistance is up to code for Colombia, taking into account the country’s high levels of seismic activity.”
This means buildings made from plastic can not only help in saving the planet, but they can also be safer and more practical in some ways than the materials that are currently being used. Other plastic transformations include turning plastic into usable oil.
For years, China was a leader in the recycling world for taking in waste imports. Essentially, they took in other countries’ plastic waste that could be recycled, but they stopped this year because too much non-recyclable waste was getting mixed up in the recycling. However, they intend to shift their focus to optimize their domestic recycling programs.
While China isn’t accepting other recycling, Sweden is. According to Business Insider Nordic, Sweden has the capacity to recycle more than what is produced in the country, and they make a profit out of doing so. By charging about $43 per ton of trash, they make about $100 million in revenue.
Currently, however, Germany is the world leader in recycling and has been found to recycle more than any other country. Following behind are Singapore and Wales, the latter of which is expected to outdo Germany in the recycling world in the next few years.
There are many solutions both in the works and already in use to conquer plastic. However, another question altogether is that of stopping the creation of plastic products. In 2012, Hawaii was the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of plastic bags, and in 2016, France became the first country in the world to ban plastic plates and cups. But the production of plastic is still not manageable.
To combat the production of plastic products, alternatives to plastic disposable items have been created. Biodegradable and compostable plates, silverware, and dog waste bags are all examples. In fact, recently, EnviGreen created plastic bags that are not only biodegradable, but they can dissolve in water which is then safe to drink.
Over the past several hundred years, we have overstepped our limits with Mother Nature. Now it’s time to take responsibility for our actions and clean up the disastrous mess we have caused. There are plenty of solutions out there, we just need to find the drive to save the planet.
Photo from pexels – creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Geo Sique is a writer from Boise, ID with a bachelor’s’ degrees in Communication and French and a background in journalism. When she’s not travelling outside Idaho, she loves rock climbing, hot springs, camping, and exploring the world around her.
Website: Georgette Siqueiros