Challenging the throwaway society – ocean plastics highlight wasteful consumption habits
After years of campaigning by NGOs (Non-governmental organisations), it took a seminal wildlife documentary – Blue Planet II – to get politicians to pay attention to the devastation being wrought by the disposal of plastics. More than eight million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the oceans every year, equivalent to 16 full shopping bags for every metre of the world’s coastline.
Policy experiments have proven remarkably effective. The UK’s plastic bag charge cut usage by 85% and we expect to see similar policy initiatives developed in 2018. Single-use plastic bottles are a likely target, given that a million plastic bottles are sold every minute, but only a small percentage of which are made from recycled materials. There is a potential cost here for companies which have to change their production processes – but it also opens up opportunities for those developing innovative new packaging solutions.
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