Solutions to stop Plastic Pollution

[People, Tech, Organizations, Governments]

Reducing our plastic pollution is one of the greatest challenges facing planet earth.

Luckily, there are solutions. Governments, Organizations, and millions of people are stepping up. Together, we can fight the currently, 13 million tonnes of plastic that ends up in our oceans each year and eventually on our plates.

See how many are dedicated to helping solve this enormous problem and be part of the solution in any way you can.

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Table of content

Table of content

  • How Technological / Innovative Solutions can help Reduce Plastic Pollution
  • How Consumers can fight Plastic Pollution
  • How Governments are taking action to Reduce Plastic Pollution

Tech / Innovative solutions to stop Plastic Pollution

A great number of organizations (and the people behind them) are working hard to help solve our plastic pollution problem. We have selected a couple of innovative solutions to get inspired to improve upon their ideas or to support their cause.

Tech and Innovation solutions

1. Turning Plastic Trash into Currency so people would pick it up and have a small income

If plastic would be valuable, people would pick it up. Check out how the Plastic Bank is turning plastic waste into Social Plastic to prevent plastic from entering our oceans.

The idea is simple:

If plastic waste is worth money, people will pick it up, bring it to the designated recycling center, earning a small amount of money and preventing the plastic from entering our ecosystem.

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2. Go into the Ocean and collect Plastic Waste as efficiently as possible

The ocean is big. Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods – vessels and nets – would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete. Our passive systems are estimated to remove 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage patch in just five years, and at a fraction of the cost.

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3. Collect Plastic Waste from Rivers as Efficiently as possible

To rid the oceans of plastic, we need to not only clean up what is already in the oceans, but we also need to close the tab by stopping new plastic from entering.

There is plenty of data on which rivers are the most polluted. We have a great starting point.

The Ocean Cleanup works together with government leaders, individuals, and private corporations to tackle the 1000 most polluting rivers all over the world, in five years from rollout.

Check out the video below to see how it works and hit the link to learn more.

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4. Use the power of Plastic Eating Bacteria

Scientists around the world have continued to discover different types of bacteria that can degrade specific types of plastic. These researches are still in the early stage, but successes in this field can have a big positive impact on finding new solutions for our Plastic Waste problem.

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5. Could Plastic-Free Packaging be a Solution to our Plastic Waste?

Various organizations are investing in Plastic-Free packaging (or Sustainable Packaging) as a solution to reduce plastic waste. Some organizations go back to the root with 100% plastic-free online stores. All groceries come in glass packaging or other material that is non-plastic, and others try to recreate the benefits of plastics from organic matter.

Check out the video below to learn more.

A couple of organizations worth looking into:

ZeroGrocery.com, BeyondPlastics, Footprint, EcovativeDesign, SoluBlue, NotPla, OutlanderMaterials.

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6. Using Unrecyclable Plastics to pave Roads

Organizations are already using unrecyclable plastics to pave roads. They use plastics to reduce the use of oils going into roads. Since 40% of plastics are single-use plastics that can not be recycled and often ends up in landfills, exported to different countries, and eventually in our rivers, oceans, and plates, using unrecyclable plastics to pave our roads might be a good idea. Too bad, not many have heard that this is actually possible.

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How consumers can help to stop Plastic Pollution

Next to Governments and Organizations, Consumers also have a big role to play to help reduce the amount of plastic pollution.

The billions of consumers decide how they buy, use, re-use, recycle, donate and get involved.

Below are concrete ideas consumers can use to help reduce plastic waste.

Consumers

1. Stop buying plastic products and opt-in for reusable

There are plenty of ways to switch from plastic products to reusable ones. The easiest are plastic bags, straws, plates, water bottles, and cutlery.

Do you remember the famous quote?

“One plastic straw does not matter, said 8 billion people.”

It's just one straw said 8 billion people

The fact is.

It does matter.

And don’t think that your actions won’t mean anything. They do. Millions of people are already doing their best to be conscious of their plastic consumption. You won’t be the first one but you’ll be joining a strong movement. We always need more people to join.

To help you to get started today:

P.S.

Don’t recycle your plastic products because you have opted-in for reusable ones. Use them as long as they work and then recycle.

Our single-use / disposable mindset goes deeper than just plastic consumption. We invite you to sit back and watch this short video about The Story of Stuff.

2. Participate In (or Organize) a Beach or River Cleanup

You might say:

what does picking up a couple of pounds of plastic waste matter in the grand scheme?

But the impact goes a lot further than that.

By participating in beach or river cleanups, you show the community that they’re not alone, you again see why you’re making those purchasing decisions, donations, etc. and get friends and colleagues involved to see the problem first hand and be part of the solution.

Governments, Social Enterprises, NGOs, and Consumers. We all have a role to play to fight plastic pollution.

3. Support bans on plastic and organizations that fight to reduce plastic pollution

As seen on other sections of this page, organizations and governments are stepping up to help reduce plastic pollution.

You can sign petitions, support bans, donate to organizations you love, or buy their products to support them.

Every small action helps to get that snowball to form and to grow.

Without our support, organizations that have invested so much and the people behind those organizations can’t have the impact we all want.

4. Spread the words

If you’re educated on the subject of plastic pollution and know what causes it, how harmful it is, and how it impacts us all, you might think that this is common knowledge.

It’s not!

You’re in the unique position to start conversations around the topic, to educate people, and to spread the word.

Start with family, friends, colleagues, or use your social media accounts to make an impact.

TIP: You don’t need to always start with doom scenarios. You can also start with some nice success stories. Whatever you feel comfortable about.

5. Get more educated

You’re reading this article, so you’re obviously on the right path to educating yourself. Still, everyone can get better at just about anything.

Understanding how to more easily get rid of plastic usage in your daily life is also one thing that you can get better at.

Consider buying a book to get more tips and how-tos. The nice thing about books is that, after you finished reading them, you can give them to someone else and they can get value from them as well.

Below are three books we recommend on how to reduce plastic pollution.

How to reduce plastics books 

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How governments are stepping up to help stop Plastic Pollution

All over the world, governments recognise the imense problem we’re facing with our plastic pollution and they are stepping up to help.

Here’s an overview of measures taken around the world.

Our children are eating micro plastics. That means that we of course need more action. But this is a great start!

Government solutions

A Radical Idea to Solve our Plastic Waste problem. Governments need to chip in.

Did you know that Recycling Plastics often times cost more than Creating New Plastics?

When you understand this, it’s easy to see why so much plastic is still on our lands, in our rivers and oceans. Andrew Forrest explains this in his TED Talk (watch below) and urges organizations to contribute to tip the scale.

His idea is that companies deposit money in an account for every New Plastics created. Money from this account would go towards making recycling more viable. He then goes into explaining how people can help by asking to go to NoPlasticWaste.org asking organizations to commit to this cause.

Our question is.

Why are governments not contributing to making sure that recycling plastics actually have financial benefits?

How are governments contributing to Plastic Pollution Solutions

The most actions taken by governments are to ban or reduce single-use plastics like plastic bags and plastic straws. It looks like governments around the world are stepping up and implementing such policies.

We still see little action when it comes to making organizations that produce plastics accountable for the problem.

Two of the large organizations that produce a lot of new (viring) single-use plastics are Unilever and Coca-Cola. Both have set goals to recycle more plastics that they create.

Is this enough? Where are the lawmakers to make sure that all companies, not only pledge but uphold sustainability goals.

The reason that Unilever and Coca-Cola are pledging to become more sustainable is that they don’t want to lose income. They see that consumers are demanding more sustainable measures. Again, where are the lawmakers demanding the same?

Now it’s your turn

Speak your mind in the comments below. Ask questions, add resources, help others.