This hack intends to bring together like-minded sustainability innovators who want to tackle the global plastic waste endemic and collaborate to design and create solutions focused on eliminating, reducing, recycling, reusing and redesigning single-use plastic products.
“How might we use the latest advancements in science and technology to transform the global plastic waste endemic and create sustainable products and practical solutions to eliminate, reduce, recycle or reuse plastic waste to clean up our planet, protect our ecosystems and human health?”
Half of the plastic produced globally is destined for a single-use product and within less than a year, half of all plastic produced will become trash. It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
Recent Greenpeace analysis found that Australians alone use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually and figures obtained by The Guardian reveal that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. If our plastic production continues on this level there will be 12-million kilograms of waste in landfill or in the natural environment by 2050. That’s equivalent to 1.8 billion African elephants or an area the size of Argentina if laid out at ankle level.
WHAT IMPACTS THE CHALLENGE
Economical – Plastic is cheap and quick to produce. Production and resourcing sustainable alternative materials may cost more and may not be fit-for-purpose
Convenience – plastic is convenient for consumers and businesses. Consumers don’t want to [always] carry their own shopping bags, cutlery, keep-cups, straws, etc. Recycling and responsible disposable facilities are not easily accessible – see Access and availability of resources section below
Social, behaviours and habits – ordering take-away, taking a straw for a drink, etc. are common behaviours that create waste
Education – Lack of awareness:
- of the impact of mass plastic consumption on the planet, ecosystems and human health, and;
- how and what to recycle, where to take waste/unwanted/broken products
Access and availability of waste management resources – beyond the average households’ yellow recycling waste bins and quarterly council clean-ups days there are no easily accessible or commonly-known resources for collecting waste products that could be recycled, or could be discarded more responsibility (i.e. electrical waste, batteries, etc.)
Environment/Technology – Storage and conditions to store an alternate, i.e. can temperature or movement impact the volatility on alternate material