The world is ready for Social Plastic

By Shaun Frankson – Co-Founder The Plastic Bank

 

Humanity dumps 8 million metric tons of plastic into our oceans annually and that numbers is estimated to increase dramatically, according to a new study published in the journal Science.

Estimating the total amount of plastic dumped into our oceans each year is no easy feat. But researchers at the University of Georgia & the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) developed a model that calculated all the sources of ocean debris, and then focused specifically on plastic.

They calculate that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Jambeck and her colleagues estimate the 2015 output will be close to 9.1 million metric tons of plastic. And by 2025, the annual cumulative output of plastic into the world’s oceans will be around 155 million metric tons.

Thankfully, as social entrepreneurs, we see the world through a solutions focused lens. Since we are working on that particular solution every day, through The Plastic Bank and our Social Plastic movement, we have an optimistic view of the future.

They go on to say that “Without waste management infrastructure improvements, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste available to enter the ocean from land is predicted to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.”

The report states that waste estimates for 2010 for the top 20 countries ranked by mass of mismanaged plastic waste are:

  1. China
  2. Indonesia
  3. Philippines
  4. Vietnam
  5. Sri Lanka
  6. Thailand
  7. Egypt
  8. Malaysia
  9. Nigeria
  10. Bangladesh
  11. South Africa
  12. India
  13. Algeria
  14. Turkey
  15. Pakistan
  16. Brazil
  17. Burma
  18. Morocco
  19. North Korea
  20. United States

The Plastic Bank, CEO David Katz, can attest to this list after recent visits to China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey and Burma, all of which made the top 20 list.

The reports goes on to say “Our estimate of plastic waste entering the ocean is one to three orders of magnitude greater than the reported mass of floating plastic debris in high-concentration ocean gyres and also globally”.

According to this report “We will not reach a global “peak waste” before 2100. Our waste will continue to grow with increased population and increased per capita consumption associated with economic growth, especially in urban areas and developing African countries.”

It’s interesting to see the final words of this report. “Long-term solutions will likely include waste reduction and “downstream” waste management strategies such as expanded recovery systems and extended producer responsibility. Improving waste management infrastructure in developing countries is paramount and will require substantial resources and time.” These are two keys pillars behind The Plastic Bank and our Social Plastic ® movement.

The more we read about ocean plastic problems, the more determined David Katz and I become to make The Plastic Bank a success. I truly believe that we can make plastic waste too valuable to end up in the ocean.

The Plastic Bank is making plastic waste a currency in developing countries to help reduce global poverty and plastic waste. We offer people in need an above market value for the plastic they collect and continue to build a life improvement platform for ‘resource entrepreneurs’. The plastic we collect is recycled and sold as “Social Plastic®” to brands for use in their manufacturing as a replacement for virgin plastic. Every person can play a part in preventing plastic waste from entering our oceans. I encourage you to try to create your own business solution to solving this or another global problem. If you would like to help us solve this problem you can join the million plus people who have already helped to prove the demand for Social Plastic ® on Facebook or you can participate in our ask a brand to use Social Plastic ® campaign.