Defining the plastic waste problem
Imagine all the items you’ve bought, used and discarded in your lifetime. How much space would they take up? What about the items discarded by your neighbors, friends and family? From cars to toys to electronics, appliances, textiles, building materials, packaging, household goods and decorations, we buy, use and discard a lot of things — many made with plastic.
And because we can place them in a trash bin or drop them at a dump, and they seem to disappear, we might not give much thought to their journey after that. Unfortunately, most will end up in a landfill, doomed forever to be “trash” or “waste” — a concept that is foreign to the natural world. And humans make so much of this waste that we are running out of landfill space around the world.
What if we could turn our old, discarded, no-longer-useful plastic into new things?
We would reduce our strain on natural resources and avoid digging giant holes and using our land to bury waste. We would reduce pollution and chemicals leaching into local environments. We would reclaim and repurpose valuable materials and reduce our carbon footprint.
Reducing our waste in these ways would do us a lot of good.