Plastics, plastics, everywhere

March 24, 2012

I wrote an article for the Guardian about plastics:

Plastic accounts for four-fifths of the accumulated garbage in the world’s oceans, says the United Nations. And, perhaps most insidious of all, the debris is broken down by waves and sunlight into a sort of “soup” that fish and other wildlife mistake for food.

This much is known. The question is, what can we do about it?

Doug Woodring, a campaigner in Hong Kong, says one answer is to bring greater accountability to the use of plastics. He is asking companies, and other major plastic consumers, to disclose how much plastic they are using, in the hope that measuring is the first step to minimising, re-using, and finding alternatives.

His Plastic Disclosure Project, launched last October, aims to emulate the success of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which now counts more than 3,000 organisations as members and is widely credited with driving carbon reductions at a company level. More broadly, he is trying to establish the concept of a “plastics footprint” alongside the carbon footprint, and more recently, the water footprint.

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