As a global community we are producing and disposing of plastic at an unbelievable rate! Our planet is being overwhelmed with billions of tons of plastic. It’s in our oceans and waterways-- affecting marine life in a big way. We live in a time when global change is more urgent than ever. However, thanks to technology, people are more connected than ever before. Through cohesive worldwide discussion, innovation, and action, help us cultivate a more sustainable relationship with plastic.
Common Plastic Alternatives:
Reusable containers, Hemp, Glass, Reusable shopping bags, Stainless Steel, Reusing Plastic Containers,
Other new animal based alternatives such as chicken feathers, which are now being used to form a type of plastic that is stronger than that from soy or starch, and is believed to be biodegradable.
Milk protein is another plastic alternative. It has been around for a while, but recently has been improved by the addition of a silicate clay and substituting a glycerin based chemical for formaldehyde they can make it more degradable and less toxic.
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Another interesting improvement about recycling comes in the form of chemical recycling. A company called Recycling Technologies have come up with a chemical process that recycles plastic by breaking it down into something they call plaxx. This can be used as a low sulfur crude oil equivalent, and is used to make recycled plastics which can then be chemically broken down and recycled again.
Recycling technologies are advancing in exciting ways. One example of this is recent progress with robotics. AMP Robotics is working on a robot, Clarke, that can sort recycling at superhuman speeds. Clarke uses an AI that is able to identify individual pieces of material as they go by on the conveyor belt. Once this is perfected this will become a more thorough and effective way of recycling. https://www.amprobotics.com
The average person in western Europe and North America uses 220 pounds of plastic a year. This figure is expected to grow.
Roughly 32.5% of plastics used worldwide are put in landfills.
An estimated 10-20 million tons of plastic is winds up in the ocean every year.
There is believed to 268,940 tons of plastic in the ocean, consisting of 5.25 plastic particles, and causing $13 billion in damages to the marine ecosystem per year
In the United states only about 9% of plastic used is recycled, resulting in 32 million tons of waste