The Green Room: What happens when you put two sustainability experts in a room and ask them about the plastic crisis? James and Nick spend the show debating the economics of plastics, the realities of plastic recycling, the problems that plastic pollution is causing to our global ecosystem, and what people are doing to try to tackle it.
What are the problems with recycling plastic?
There are a lot of issues with recycling, not least that so much of our single-use plastic can’t even be recycled. Of those plastics that are eligible, only around a third makes it into the recycling bin, and not all of that third makes it to be recycled. We keep importing our plastic waste, but other countries have stopped buying it. Even when it is recycled, there is a finite number of times plastic can go through this process.
What are people doing to tackle the problem?
So much! Just a few of our favourite examples:
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with businesses to build recyclability into their products and create a “circular economy”.
Vin and Omi create textiles and clothes made from recycled plastic.
Ooho! Futuristic style water balls delivered in a transparent, biodegradable/edible membrane.
A Plastic Planet are campaigning for a plastic-free aisle in every supermarket.
Paddle Pickup; in 2017 a group of women kayaked from Bristol to London. They covered 300km in 15 days, negotiated 151 canal locks and collected 3,240 pieces of plastic pollution.
#OneLess are a non-profit aimed at stopping Londoners buying drinks in disposable bottles.