These Bold Ideas Aim To Make Plastic Waste A Thing Of The Past
When the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched its New Plastics Economy initiative two years ago, it made a dark, headline-grabbing prediction. It said if nothing is done to arrest the rate at which plastic is entering the oceans, those oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
About 8 million tons of plastic become maritime garbage every year, according to scientifically grounded estimates. Only about 14% of the plastic used for wrapping food and bottling water is currently recycled and reused, and the numbers are going up all the time. As countries like China and Vietnam take on western-type lifestyles, they produce more plastic waste–but often without the infrastructure to capture and reconstitute it.
But the good people at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a U.K. nonprofit named after a record-breaking British sailor, is more optimistic than it was back in 2016. It’s persuaded 11 leading consumer brands and packaging companies–including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Walmart–to move towards 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. The U.K. and French governments have committed to circular economies around plastic waste (the French have also banned plastic plates and cutlery).
Photo courtesy of Simone McCourtie.