“Plastic is not just waste: it can be a driver for transforming regional partnerships and inspiring solid partnerships based on circular economy principles. The opportunity is there, we just have to look through a different lens. ”
Plastic is needed
This is the conclusion of an opinion piece entitled “We can use plastics to change the world for the better” on the World Economic Forum website. The author is Lesley Van Staveren, co-founder of the Australian plastic recycling company ReGen. Her opinion piece calls for a different approach to plastic and plastic waste. That waste is now a serious environmental problem and threat in all corners of the world. The pendulum of plastic production may have blown, but on the other hand we will always need plastic in the future.
Local production and employment
Plastic recycling is already a step in the right direction in order not to have to dump that waste. This requires investments in companies and firms that make new products with recycled plastic. But in a vast country like Australia, those lines between collecting plastic waste and processing it into finished products can literally be very far apart. According to Van Staveren, companies that use plastic, for example as packaging material, should be located near companies that recycle plastic and process it into new products. The latter companies can even be an engine for local employment, also in more rural areas. In other words, for plastic, the supply chain should be as short as possible. Or produce and recycle plastic at a short distance from each other.
Transparency about plastic production
Finally, it lists a number of possible initiatives for innovation and investment that should make it possible to keep the volumes of plastic manageable for the environment. She advocates, among other things, full transparency regarding the quantities produced, and the importance of industries working together much more closely, so that less plastic waste is dumped on the landfills. Companies that produce plastic need to do more with recycled material and it is important to keep emphasizing that plastic can also be a useful resource in the circular economy.