To this day, plastic remains one of the largest manufacturing oversights of our age whilst also being one of the least recognised. Plastic, in its many forms, is a fantastic material; one that allows us to craft almost anything we can imagine. But it has a significant downside. In much the same way that nuclear energy offers incredible potential with a similar drawback, plastic waste does not break down at an environmentally friendly pace.
The single use… solution?
It is this issue of disposal that has lead to slow but steady action being taken to reduce plastic waste. The biggest problem with plastics comes from those that are manufactured cheaply for a simple purpose and are subsequently used once and then discarded. These single use plastics are rarely recyclable and, even if they are, frequently end up in landfills. It is in these large holes in the ground that they will lay for hundreds of years, not really doing anything accept potentially releasing a small amount of harmful chemicals into the surrounding area. Obviously this is not an ideal solution.
A time of change
The issue of single use plastics and plastic pollution in oceans and other water sources has finally reached the global stage; with an ever growing focus being placed on correcting this problem. There are new products that replace plastics, ever more inventive recycling methods and fantastic innovations to clear up the existing problem as well as striving to ensure the future. One of the most creative of these is a project that utilises an aquatic drone, shaped like a shark no less, to gather up to 60 kilograms of plastic waste from the ocean at a time and return it to be properly disposed of. Every one of these initiatives, every item of plastic properly disposed of, it all brings us closer to a more environmentally responsible tomorrow.
The recycling renaissance
With ever increasing amounts of plastic being rounded up and disposed of correctly, the opportunity to recycle it has never been greater. There are countless products made from recycled materials, and the right kind of plastic is a one of huge potential. There is no reason that if items are manufactured from the correct plastics that they cannot be recycled and with very little waste. New bottles, containers, toys, furniture, clothes, insulation, carpets, tents and even camping mats made from recycled plastic are all very possible and this is simply the tip of the iceberg. Artists, community projects, schools, universities and many other institutions and creative people are recycling plastic in inventive and amazing ways. But just because it can be reused is no excuse for not being aware of the problem in the first place; making a few simple changes and choices can make a huge difference on mass and we all need to be aware of such things for the sake of generations to come.