It’s estimated that there are 600 lbs of plastic waste in the sea for every pound of plankton. One in four fish (including those we eat) have plastic in them. How much more can we take? Captain Charles Moore is an internationally recognized expert on marine plastic pollution and head of Algalita, a marine research and education nonprofit aiming is to prevent ocean plastic pollution. His team developed the first protocols for measuring plastic debris in oceans, methods now used globally by scientists and researchers.
After a weeklong whiff of concerts, parties and events at the beginning of July, the Roskilde Festival site was covered with piles of food leftovers, partially disassembled tents, empty beer cans and other waste. The festival, located some 30 kilometers west of Copenhagen in Denmark “is a micro-cosmos which displays elements of the sustainability challenges faced on a global level,” says Esben Pedersen, Head of the Corporate Social Responsibility department of the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). “If it has the problems, it should also be able to present the solutions.”
When you talk with her, it’s hard to find the moment that you could use to ask your following question. Albina Ruiz is one of those. She has the drive and focused energy of the ones who have fought for their vision to come true. For nearly three decades she has been building up a model of social enterprise, at first in Peru and progressively all over South America. She is now working to develop it in Asia.
“Don’t say no to plastic. Say no to plastic which is non-degradable.” Speaking at a TEDx conference in his home country of Indonesia last year, Sugianto Tandio – President Director of PT Tirta Marta – shared what he is calling his “redemption story.” Formerly in the conventional plastics business, he explained his current passion for solving the global plastic waste problem as both an activist and a social entrepreneur. The 3P’s of people, planet, profit – also known as the Triple Bottom Line – is the holy grail for business sustainability practitioners. Can plastics, Mr. Tandio’s redemption story, fit in? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jON7MvJ1xOk&w=640
According to a report commissioned by PlasticsEurope, and authored by British futurologist Ray Hammond, plastics will continue to play an important role in meeting many of the world’s crucial future challenges.
No longer is waste a muddled, stinking pile of garbage. With evermore refined technology, the waste management industry has finally come of age. The most recent technological hubbub in waste management has been made by a Finnish company called ZenRobotics. Their only marketable product, a robotic recycling arm, purportedly utilises a variety of sensors to distinguish different types of materials in a waste stream and then separates them accordingly. Whilst technological advances are impressive in their own right, increasing technological sophistication does not provide an all-encompassing solution to the global waste problem.
On the very first session, the high level of the keynotes quickly engaged me. Dr J. Potocnik European, European Comissioner of the Environment, emphasized the fact that innovation is not just about technology but also about our behaviour. I agree: first in the minds of every entrepreneur should be achieving growth that enforces intelligent thinking. This sentence strucked me and reminded me οn my encounter with Günter Pauli at the HUB Madrid, where he was presenting his last book : the “blue economy”. The blue economy is best illustrated by an example from Günter Pauli: when you drink a cup of coffee, you are only consuming 0.01% of all the product’s supply chain.
Let us imagine a simple ecosystem. A seed germinates in the presence of sunlight and water. It becomes a tall tree while taking up nutrients from the soil with the help of other microorganisms. When the tree dies, its degradation releases the nutrients back to the soil, which are taken up by other growing trees and other micro-organisms, until they die and release the nutrients again … You will find many such closed loops in the nature. Now imagine that our society is also an ecosystem. We take up our resources – fuel, water, etc.