What Can We Do About Plastic Pollution?

Plastic is one of the biggest issues facing us as a species. Globally, eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean each year – that’s equivalent to a rubbish truckful every minute. If nothing changes, plastic in the ocean may outweigh fish by as soon as 2050.

That sounds pretty rough, but fear not. There is hope on the horizon, there are things that we’re doing, there are ways we can help! We’ve put together just a few of the biggest, best, and most exciting companies and innovations in the fight against plastic pollution.

Plastic Homes

What’s the best way to get rid of plastic? Stop trying to get rid of it. Conceptos Plasticos, a Columbian social enterprise, has created a method of manufacturing during, sustainable, recycled bricks from waste plastic and rubber.

The company is currently working in West Africa, employing local woman to collect plastic in the Ivory Coast and using it to build schools across the country.

Edible Cutlery

The worst thing about a party, barbecue or picnic is definitely the washing up. That’s why so many people opt for cheap plastic cutlery, to throw away when the shindig is over and save themselves some time and money. The problem is that it adds a huge amount of completely unnecessary plastic to the environment. The solution? Eat your problems.

What once seemed like a Willy Wonka idea is now taking off in a huge number of different forms. Edible Pro, Candy Cutlery and Bakeys are just a few of the companies now producing cutlery that can be eaten once you’re done with them.

Edible Packaging

What’s better than recyclable packaging? Delicious packaging, of course. The US agricultural team has recently developed an alternative to plastic packaging made from milk proteins. While probably not the most delicious thing you’re likely to eat, the fact that it’s biodegradable is a huge step forward in the fight against plastic pollution. The next step will be looking for solutions that eliminate the need for dairy products, since cattle produce so much methane.

Plastic Roads

We first wrote about roads a couple of years back – you can read the full article here. Since then the concept has continued to grow, encouraged by local councils and Scottish innovator, MacRebur. The process of recycling plastic for road surfaces involves making plastic pellets which are then melted into an asphalt mix (bitumen, plastic, sand, gravel, etc.), which is then used for the road surface.

Zero Carbon Air Conditioning

Given the glorious weather of the UK, we don’t often have to worry much about the amount of energy used by air conditioning systems, but let us tell you – it’s a lot. What does plastic recycling have to do with that? Just ask the guys behind Eco Cooler. They created a very simple product based on using plastic bottles mounted on a perforated board, testing it in Bangladesh. The beauty of the concept is that it can be recreated practically anywhere, with readily available waste materials. Cool without using unnecessary energy, and reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.

Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?

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