Waste is a massive economic loss
I was very taken with this Edie news story about plastic pollution which quotes the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s estimate that $80-120 billion’s worth of plastic is lost to the economy in the form of plastic pollution. That’s a lot of money almost literally being flushed down the toilet.
I sometimes unnerve people by talking about Sustainability in such terms, but I’m not a rampant free marketeer seeing only value in terms of $, £, €. Rather, it’s an escapable fact that to solve these problems, we need solutions which are economically self-sustaining, rather than those based on goodwill.
For all the will in the world, we won’t save the planet by middle class people buying bamboo toothbrushes – we need large scale systems to keep plastic out of our oceans. And that will only happen when we start seeing that plastic as an opportunity – a potential raw material – rather than a problem. As soon as you see that $120bn value, loops will start to close and stay closed, just as nutrients cycle in natural eco-systems.