Can the circular economy solve our plastics problem?
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Curious about what happens to a plastic water bottle after you throw it away? Check out this video. It's important to understand the complexities, incentives, and misconceptions about plastic recycling.
The Economic Injustice of Plastics
Plastics and our throwaway culture hits poor people and poor countries "first and worst," with consequences we all share no matter where we live. Van Jones offers some ways to reclaim our planet from plastic garbage. Historically marginalized communities are more likely to live near waste disposal sites, incinerators, and landfills, which are often located in or near their neighborhoods. The exposure to plastic waste and pollution can lead to negative health impacts, such as respiratory problems and cancer. Additionally, plastic waste can harm wildlife and ecosystems, which can impact the livelihoods and well-being of communities that rely on them. Addressing plastic pollution requires addressing the systemic inequalities that lead to unequal exposure and impacts of environmental hazards on marginalized communities.
The Circular Economy + Plastics
In our current economy, we make things, use them, and then throw them away. This is called a linear economy, because it's like a straight line from production to disposal. But there's a problem with this way of doing things: it's not sustainable. We're using up resources faster than we can replenish them, and we're creating a lot of waste that ends up polluting the environment. For a more in-depth exploration of what plastic use in a circular economy could look like, head here.
The circular economy is all about creating a more sustainable future by using resources more efficiently and reducing waste. It's a way of thinking about the economy that focuses on keeping things in use for as long as possible, instead of just using them once and throwing them away. The Netherlands have made a huge amount of progress to using a circular economy with plastics.
At the heart of the circular economy is the idea that nothing is disposable when it comes to people, things, and the planet.
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