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Business, plastics and waste management - the sustainability dream team?

September 22, 2016

Business, plastics and waste management - the sustainability dream team?

There’s a reason we call our home the “Blue Planet.” Oceans cover most of Earth’s surface and generate roughly 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere. They regulate our climate and provide many of the environmental processes that enable life as we know it - but there’s a problem.

Our oceans are in trouble.

You’ve probably heard that over 85% of global fisheries have been stretched beyond their biological limits, and that large ocean fish have been reduced to just 10% of their preindustrial populations. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean, threatening sea life from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

If we don’t make a change, there’ll be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

As if that weren’t concerning enough, toxic debris have been found in 67% of all seafood species in the United States, which means that, if unchecked, floating plastics could potentially worm their way into our bodies.

It’s costing the global economy billions.

Because of weak waste management practices and the deeply embedded global “throw away” culture, about 32% of all discarded plastic packaging ends up leaking back into the environment instead of retaining its worth within the value chain.

The New Plastics Economy Report released at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, reveals that because so much of plastic packaging is only used once before it’s tossed, 95% of its value is wasted. In dollar figures, this means that the global economy forfeits up to USD $120 billion annually.

In simple terms, the Report says we are virtually siphoning billions from the global economy and dumping it directly into the ocean at an average speed of one garbage truck every single minute – and it’s increasing.

Read more at WBCSD News.

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