Take, make, use, dispose. For decades, this has been the standard approach to production and consumption. Companies take raw materials and transform them into products, which are purchased by consumers, who ultimately toss them out, creating waste. But as warnings about climate change and environmental degradation grow ever louder, people are starting to challenge the sustainability of this model. Many business leaders and governments — including China, Japan and the U.K. — argue that we should ditch this linear system in favor of a so-called circular economy of take, make, use, reuse and reuse again and again.
“$2.5 trillion ‘Holy Grail’ found? Breakthrough discovery could lead to 100 percent recyclable plastics, scientists say”
Plastic pollution in the world’s oceans may have a $2.5 trillion impact, negatively affecting “almost all marine ecosystem services,” including areas such as fisheries, recreation and heritage. But a breakthrough from scientists at Berkeley Lab could be the solution the planet needs for this eye-opening problem – recyclable plastics.
The change to McDonald’s packaging comes alongside another commitment from the company. This is to have recycling for guest packaging available at all of its restaurants by 2025. These goals are in addition to its other goal of having all fiber-based packaging made from recycled or certified packaging by 2020.
Adidas has released the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley running shoe – the first mass-produced footwear created using plastic waste retrieved by clean-up operations in the Maldives (95 percent) and recycled polyester (five percent). Each pair reuses eleven plastic bottles.
Recycler Jeplan is working to extract cotton fiber from used apparel and convert it to fuel. Jeplan says 1 ton of junked clothing can generate about 700 liters of ethanol, sparing land and water resources that could be used to grow food. The company says it’s also developed a way to recycle polyester. That compound is blended into many fabrics to reduce costs, improve durability, and make outfits wrinkle-resistant. It’s used in about 60 percent of the clothing produced worldwide each year, according to Jeplan, and can be a valuable resource when broken down and reused in new clothing.
The paper coffee cup is one of modern life’s consumer conundrums. It is ubiquitous, yet coveted, pricey yet just about affordable. It confers status in a world where you need to be busy to be important, while telling everyone you had time to wait in line while the beans were ground and the milk was steamed. And now there is one more contradiction to add to the list, because the paper coffee cup, it turns out, is recyclable – yet woefully, overwhelmingly, unrecycled.
Hennes & Mauritz, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, is launching an effort to promote recycling as it seeks to cut its environmental impact, boost its ethical credentials and address looming shortages of raw materials.
The move comes as critics point out the damage being caused by a throwaway culture fuelled by cheap clothing that has seen a sharp rise in the number of garments sold annually around the world.
In an effort to bolster its commitment to sustainability, Adidas announced on Monday that it would begin developing materials out of plastic ocean waste to ultimately use in its products.