WATCH: Inspiring You and 1 Billion People to Take Part in One Plastic Free Day
Will you be a part of this solution? Campaigners and businesses united to launch one of the largest plastic pollution visual surveys ever conducted.
On June 5, coincided with World Environment Day, A Plastic Planet urges you to join the challenge. It's simple. Take a photo of anything you would like to see go plastic free. Post the photo to your social media channels and use the hashtag #OnePlasticFreeDay. Include where you are posting from and what the item or place is.
EcoWatch teamed up with A Plastic Planet via Facebook live on Monday to amplify the voice of the exciting One Plastic Free Day in which people will unite locally and globally to take part in a landmark global visual survey on plastic.
In a press release sent to EcoWatch, A Plastic Planet explains how the photos from social media posts will be used:
Following June 5 the comprehensive global results will be published as part of a landmark visual report into the frustration caused by unnecessary plastic across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
The major new visual report is set to shed new light on the extent of the global plastic crisis, identifying hotspots around the world where decisive change is most needed. One Plastic Free Day is also set to see Governments and big business make their own plastic reduction pledges.
"The fifth of June is a day for us to say we've had enough, but together in harmony and that's how we can really make an impact," said Eileen Horowitz Bastianelli, environmental crusader with EcoCentric Solutions and A Plastic Planet. "The solutions are there but we have to look at them together and we have to approach our governments with the appropriate asks."
What makes this opportunity unique is that it's a solution owned by the people. This is a chance for the public to tell governments and corporations exactly what they want to be rid of plastic.
"This hashtag is really important because it's about everybody," said Frederikke Magnussen, co-founder of A Plastic Planet. "We have more power than we think and that hashtag will show that we are standing together ... we look at plastic as the tip of the iceberg where we can actually try to make a change."
Bastianelli explained in the Facebook Live that she is thrilled to see how many individuals are backing One Plastic Free Day. Not only will billboards celebrating the day be lit up in Times Square, but also in places around the world. Hollywood stars, athletes and leading campaigners are also taking part.
So get out there, snap a photo of an item that is unnecessarily laced in plastic and become a voice in this solution.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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