“Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe.”
These are not the words of bleeding-heart socialist greenies. They are not even the words of climate scientists looking for funding.
They come from the Global Risks Report 2019 produced by the World Economic Forum.
They warn that the failure to implement climate-change mitigation and adaptation strategies has increased the risk of extreme weather events becoming more frequent and more severe. Disruptions to the production and delivery of goods and services due to environmental disasters are up by 29% since 2012.
Of particular concern is the accelerating pace of biodiversity loss. The Living Planet Index, which tracks more than 4,000 species across the globe, reports a 60% decline in average abundance since 1970. Fragile ecosystems are being damaged putting at risk “ecosystem services”—benefits to humans, such as drinking water, pollination or protection against floods – the value of which has been estimated at US$125 trillion per year, around two-thirds higher than global GDP.
Micronutrient malnutrition affects as many as 2 billion people. It is typically caused by a lack of access to food of sufficient variety and quality. In 2017, climate-related disasters caused acute food insecurity for approximately 39 million people across 23 countries. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are affecting the nutritional composition of staples such as rice and wheat. Research suggests that by 2050 this could lead to zinc deficiencies for 175 million people, protein deficiencies for 122 million, and loss of dietary iron for 1 billion.
Despite the lack of action from governments, the business world is beginning to understand the urgent need for action and the opportunities that such action can offer.
In an article titled Plastic is a global problem. It’s also a global opportunity, they speak of “a new plastics opportunity that has emerged for business to both create value and drive more sustainable practice simultaneously.
If regulatory and voluntary measures prioritizing recycling and recovery can also align with sustainable innovation and new technological advancements, the global need for virgin plastic could be dramatically reduced. For example, at present the treatment, recycling and collection of plastic packaging varies depending on the plastic type in question. This makes the appropriate action to take unclear, and disincentivizes correct resource-recovery practices. A global standardization of plastic packaging types may be one solution to this issue. This could be realized through a fusion of public sector collaboration to create effective policies, coupled with self-regulated industry standards – resulting in improved recycling rates and easier resource recovery.
By closing the loop, plastics would no longer be classified as waste. They would instead act as a key source of value, entering and re-entering the value chain as technical and biological inputs. This closed-loop solution has gradually begun to gain momentum as businesses realize the potential size of the prize on the table now that the technology exists to enable the use of plastic as a raw material in future plastic production.”
One of India’s first vertically integrated plastic recycling companies and the Circulars People’s Choice Award Winner for 2018, Banyan Nation has developed a pioneering technology capable of converting collected post-consumer and post-industrial plastic wastes into high-quality recycled granules, known as Better Plastic™. These granules are comparable in quality and performance to virgin plastic. Banyan’s award-winning data intelligence platform integrates thousands of informal recyclers into their supply chain, providing job security and improved livelihoods, in addition to helping cities manage their waste more effectively.
It is time to see the value in all plastic, and to begin to view used plastic not as a waste product, but rather as a new raw resource with infinite possibilities.
We can do better, if only our politicians would help.
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