The ultimate goal in sustainability is to create a circular economy instead of a linear economy, whereby waste will never leave the value chain.
interrupt the traditional linear flow from production to consumption to landfill. Reducing landfill thus significantly reduces resources spent creating virgin materials.
Plastics pose a pertinent opportunity. These materials are entirely man made and we’ve only been producing them industrially since the end of the Second World War. In that time, we have nonetheless managed to produce about
That’s about 1.2 tonnes for every person alive on the planet today
While our efficiency in making plastic has been phenomenal, we’ve not put a lot of time into thinking about
indeed of those:
is still in use
has been recycled
has been incinerated
and the vast majority – 6.3 billion tonnes – litters our environment and festers in landfill.
Given that plastics take up to 1000 years to decompose, and that virgin plastic production continues to grow exponentially, it’s clear that we need to innovate now.
The ASTM International System denotes what plastics are made of in order to facilitate recycling. The resins are numbered 1 through 7, by chronological order of when that plastic became recyclable. In general the lower the number, the easier it is to find recyling facilities.
Beverage bottles, food jars, clothing and carpet fiber, some shampoo and mouthwash bottles
Detergent and bleach bottles, snack boxes, milk jugs, toys, bucket, crates, plant pots, garden furniture, trash bins
Credit cards, window and doorframes, gutters, pipes and fittings, wire and cable sheathing, synthetic leather
Packaging film, shopping bags, bubble wrap, flexible bottles, wire and cable insulation
Bottle tops, drinking straws, lunch boxes, insulated coolers, fabric and carpet fiber, tarps, diapers
Plastic-foam cups, egg boxed, meat tray packaging peanuts, coat hangers, yogurt containers, insulation, toys
Nylon fabrics, baby bottles, compact disks, medical storage containers, car parts, watercooler bottles
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