I read a really impressive article on what other countries are doing about plastic waste. For example, Tasmania’s town of Snug paved a stretch of road with asphalt made with plastic waste—equivalent to two years of single-use plastic collected from the municipality, according to local officials. In Malawi, there’s a local non-profit that is using waste and providing jobs for local citizens.
On the other hand, research shows that the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of plastic waste. “[L]ess than 10 percent of American plastic waste is recycled, and the U.S. has a 30-year history of shipping half of its recyclable plastic overseas, primarily to China and other developing nations lacking the infrastructure to manage it. That practice was drastically reduced only when China stopped buying plastic scrap in 2018 as part of a green campaign to clean up its own environment.” However, the U.S. continues to ship its plastic to developing countries.
Recycling, particularly of plastic bottles, is one solution. That practice would be a lot easier if the bottles were made in uniform sizes so that separating types of bottles becomes less necessary. Another solution is using plastic for fuel. “[M]uch of that plastic waste can be used as fuel in the manufacturing of cement, which involves heating limestone in large furnaces at temperatures of 1,450 degrees Celsius until it liquifies. The fuel widely used is coal, of which cement factories burn half a billion tons every year around the planet. Some of this vast quantity of coal could be replaced by non-recyclable plastics.”
Plastics can be used to repave roads, that would be an excellent way to stop the manufacturing of asphalt.
America is going to be facing a shortage of jobs in the near future, as (for example) automatic vehicles begin to supplant vehicle drivers. 3.5 million workers, mostly men, are drivers, and they won’t have jobs. So developing other jobs, particularly ones that improve the environment, would be a good thing to do. We need to take a leaf from what is happening in other countries. If, for example, plastics can be used to repave roads, that would be an excellent way to stop the manufacturing of asphalt. Of course, asphalt is a petroleum product, and the big petroleum companies wouldn’t want to lose a market for their products. So they would probably oppose the idea of using waste plastic. Plastics are also made from petroleum, although they can also be made from plants. Having plastics be made from plants and recycling them to be used on roads would be a good way of saving petroleum and eliminating a lot of environmental damage. Plus, gathering plastics would create jobs that don’t presently exist.
At this point in time, plastics have become a huge pollution problem in the ocean and in landfills. We have to stop the ocean pollution, and we’re running out of space in landfills. So using plastics as fuel in place of petroleum and coal is an excellent alternative.
Thought-provoking read: A plethora of business opportunities can come to the fore when dealing with plastic waste. The entrepreneur choosing to enter this industry could make use of a business name generator to choose the best possible name for their new venture.