Refill, replace, upcycle.
You’re probably familiar with the scourge of plastic waste. At the end of its useful life, plastic becomes a nuisance, or even a danger, to marine ecosystems, city infrastructure, and our own bodies. But plastic is also an environmental disaster at the start of its life. Over 99 percent of plastic is produced from chemicals derived from fossil fuels, and the two industries are closely tied. According to the Center for International Environmental Law, the natural gas boom in the United States is driving a ramp up in plastic production, which increases pollution risk to frontline communities and directly counters cities’ efforts to ebb the flow of single-use plastics.
If that’s not sobering enough, according to a new report, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastics industry are on track to surpass coal by the end of this decade.