If you’ve started bringing your own reusable bag to the grocery store, that’s great, but the whole world needs to start getting a bit more aggressive if we want to make a significant dent in our current levels of plastic waste. The World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently issued a report entitled “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics” and the discussion includes some pretty dire predictions, especially with regards to the Earth’s oceans.
In one of the 118-page report’s most eye-opening paragraphs, researchers explain that each year, at least 8 million tons of plastics leak into the ocean “which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute,” the authors write. And things are getting worse, not better. “If no action is taken,” the report states, “this is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.”
The cumulative result of all that discarded plastic is astounding. “In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish by 2025,” the report continues, “and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight).”
For its part, “The New Plastics Economy” isn’t all doom and gloom. That’s just the impetus the report provides to launch into its promised “rethinking” of how we work with plastics. Among a wide range of suggestions, it presents an extensive look into how we can reduce the leakage of plastic into our oceans, including improving the collection and recycling of plastics and focusing on designing plastics that are more environmentally friendly to begin with.
Not included are any recipes for Shrimp & Plastic Bottle Gumbo. Hopefully we can keep it that way.