Plastic pollution has become an overwhelming problem. While many people assume plastics are recycled, the truth is, 91% of plastic never sees a recycling plant, according to National Geographic. From water bottles and straws to packaging and plastic bags, most of it ends up in landfills.
To combat the problem, Americans were sending their plastic waste to China until the country put a ban on all foreign garbage imports at the beginning of 2018. As the U.S. struggles to keep up with plastic waste, we’re also producing it at an alarming rate. Plastic production is set to double in the next ten years.
So, now what? A staggering amount of plastic isn’t being recycled, it’s filling landfills and waterways, and at the same time, the use of plastic is skyrocketing. Swift action is required, which is why several companies are working to curb plastic pollution.
Take a look at some of the steps being taken by three innovative companies combatting the problems:
Renewlogy turns plastic waste into diesel fuel
Renewlogy, a company born at MIT in 2011, has created a system that takes plastic waste and converts it into diesel fuel. The company hopes to install their conversion systems, which are roughly the size of a tennis court, at recycling centers and waste management centers across the country.
This “conversion machine” melts ten tons of plastic garbage each day in a clean, oxygen-free environment. Once melted, the chemicals are turned into several petrochemical products, including diesel and naphtha, a component used to make virgin plastics.
Plants already exists in Salt Lake City and Nova Scotia, Canada, and additional cities are already on a waiting list for Renewlogy’s plastic-consuming technology.
Zero-waste shops like Natural Weigh work to eliminate plastic packaging
A lot of plastic comes in the form of packaging. From products wrapped in plastic film to soda bottles held together by plastic rings, it’s hard to buy groceries without filling your cart with single-use plastic.
Shops like Natural Weigh are working to change that. As a zero-waste store, shoppers use refillable bottles to buy products. Dried goods like pastas and grains are held in hoppers, ready for customers to disperse what they need into a container. Liquid goods like detergents and soaps are housed in glass bottles, allowing customers to pump a desired amount into squeezy bottles.
Natural Weigh is in Britain, where several hundred stores like it have popped up. The zero-waste revolution is slower to take root in America, where zero-waste stores are just becoming a reality.
Refillable technology gives consumers the power to eliminate plastic waste
Refillable grocery items are also behind a movement called #WeWantRefill.
Imagine going to your favorite store and being able to refill certain products rather than buy yet another plastic container of shampoo or dish soap. That’s what the #WeWantRefill movement is all about. Giving consumers the ability to refill their favorite products like lotions, soaps, mouthwash, cleaners – you name it – all from one machine.
Why haven’t you seen such a kiosk at your local shop? Retail stores and manufacturers are hesitant to change, but by joining the #WeWantRefill movement you can show them that consumers want this technology. Sign the petition and learn more about the movement on the WeWantRefill website.
Plastic pollution is a real problem, and everyone – including consumers – must be part of the solution. By knowing what kind of plastic-eliminating efforts are out there, you can make more informed decisions and work to protect the environment from continued pollution.