Creative solutions to our plastic waste problem?
Happy October, everyone! This month, we’re taking a fresh look at a problem you’ve most likely seen across the headlines many times: plastic pollution. But don’t fret, there’s a lot of hope here when we break it down. So watch your candy wrappers and keep your reusable bottle close, and let’s dig in.
I’ll tell you from the start, choosing just one “way you can help” was almost impossible. So many incredible minds are finding ways to creatively reduce the world’s plastic pollution. There are hundreds of ways for you to make a difference and have a tangible impact on our future!
Let’s start with a quick hello to our newcomers! Hello! The Conspiracy Chronicle is our monthly newsletter highlighting the people fixing some of the world’s toughest problems. Helping you connect to the #ConspiracyofGoodness in our world!
Folks, we have a plastic problem.
Every year 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans. “That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline in the world.” (National Geographic)
You may think that’s too big of a problem to tackle. Combine that number with the fact that only about 9% of plastic is recycled (DW) and you could start to want to throw in the towel. But let’s break down this big problem a little more.
93% of the plastic waste that ends up in the world’s oceans comes from 10 rivers on the planet. (Scientific American) These rivers are located in Asia and Africa where garbage collection is inefficient or even nonexistent. These areas also tend to be areas where there is little public awareness about the problems trash poses. (DW)
How is this good news?
When it comes to stemming some of the plastic tide before it reaches our oceans, we have a place to start. These are areas where hundreds of millions of people live. Imagine if we could educate communities and build infrastructures for waste management in these regions.
Organizations like Plastic Bank are already hard at work using plastics recycling to help people make a sustainable income, educate locals about the harms of plastic pollution, and pushing a wave of large corporations to utilize these recycled plastics in their packaging and manufacturing!
What do we do with all this plastic?
Production of plastic took off around 1950. And since then, we have created 9.2 billion tons of plastic. Of that, 6.3 billion tons never made it to the recycling bin.(National Geographic)
Now, the eyes of the world are starting to turn on this problem. Large companies, including Nestlé, Volvo, and SC Johnson among many others are using recycled plastics. The market for recycled plastics is growing! In 2025, the recycled plastic market is estimated to be worth $54.57 Billion USD.(Hexa Research)
Consumer consciousness and interest in using recycled materials is having an impact on the practices of large corporations.
Not to mention, small scale recycling businesses are popping up around the globe; giving discarded plastics a new life! Organizations like Precious Plastic are helping lead this small scale revolution in plastics recycling and artisan manufacturing!
So yes, we have a plastics problem. But these are just some of the thousands of people and organizations who are working to tackle this problem from all angles!
Our Featured Thought Leader Tackling the Problem
Ubuntoo is a digital platform that connects innovators to each other and a network of people around the globe who want to tackle the world’s major environmental issues.
On their site you can find solutions to every angle of our plastic pollution problem. They’ve even featured some of the thought leaders we’ve highlighted over on Ever Widening Circles, like the Plastics Bank, and Air Ink!
Whether you want to support the researchers creating an enzyme that can break down plastics, the organizations educating people about plastic pollution, or an awesome new company reducing waste using recycled materials, there’s someone out there for you to learn about. They also curate podcasts, articles, and the news you need to know about the signs of progress when it comes to plastic pollution.
You can become a subscriber for free, or if you’re really committed to the cause become a member!
Things You Can Do!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (But most of all reduce)!
We know the phrase. But how often do we actually do the first two? We can easily reduce our plastic consumption by using reusable containers, bottles, and utensils. The next time you mindlessly reach for a plastic bottle of water or soda, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” You may not get to zero when it comes to using plastic bottles, but just that question will help you reduce your use quite a bit!
Reuse! Before you buy new items like clothes or furniture, take a look at what’s at your local second hand store, or join one of the endless groups online where you can find people selling or giving away the items you might be looking for! (Shout-out to our new, used desks in the EWC office).
Recycle! If you find yourself still surrounded by plastics (why is everything at the grocery store packaged in plastic?!) educate yourself on how recycling works in your area! Make sure your rinse your recyclables too! Sending recyclables out with food still caked on them can contaminate an entire barrel of recyclables! This means this plastic that could have been recycled will now end up in the landfill. Here are some basic tips from Waste Management to get you started!
Support Organizations Reducing Plastic Waste: Making products from recycled materials is popular right now. If you’re in the market (and can’t find it used) look for companies who use recycled materials in their products. Shoe companies, clothing companies, even big brand names are turning to recycled materials. The more we support them the more we give a YES vote to the people who are helping us make progress.
If you aren’t shopping for stuff, but just looking for somebody to support, go check out the Ubuntoo site for an organization you can support and donate to!
Be Vocal! The more we share the stories of progress on social media and with our friends, the more we create a demand for change. Now that you know 93% of plastic in the oceans comes from 10 rivers, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT. Find ways you can make a change in your community.
We are already seeing signs of progress when it comes to ending plastic pollution and that is because we have been vocal in the past and demanded change from big companies and governments! We have to continue to speak up if we want more change!
Keep up with the community!
Tell us how you are helping to end plastic pollution. Are you supporting any organizations we should know about? Do you have a favorite YouTuber or Instagram account with great tips on how we can reduce our waste? SHARE WITH US!
Finally, join the #ConspiracyofGoodness Facebook Group to see what other people are up to and share inspiration you come across.
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Get more from us!
Every month we put out an edition of the Conspiracy Chronicles. It’s our newsletter that explores a major issue the world faces, and introduces you to one of the thought leaders tackling the problem! Along the way, we also share some great tips with you on how you can make a difference too!