The US is the world’s biggest plastic polluter, generating 42m metric tons of plastic waste which is more than the plastic waste generated by all EU countries combined. The country is required to change its strategy to curb the vast amount of plastic that is ending up in the ocean.
The increase in the plastic waste is not something new but it is on stark rise since 1960 due to the availability of cheap versatile plastic which is creating deluge on a global scale. The results is quite evident in the entangling and choking of marine life, which is not only harming ecosystems but bringing harmful pollutants up through the food chain.
The overall amount of municipal waste created in the US is also two to eight times higher than other developed countries around the world as it has failed to keep pace of recycling with the huge growth in its plastic production.
The country alone generates 2.2 m tons of plastic, which includes everything from plastic bottles and straws to packaging through littering, dumping and inefficient waste disposal in the landfills. The companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been the largest contributor to plastic waste for the fourth consecutive year.
Developed countries like the US and France dump their waste in developing countries which creates nearly 8.8 m tons of plastic waste into the marines every year, which as similar to dumping a truck full of garbage into the ocean every single minute.
There is an urgency to this issue because the increase in the plastic production worldwide is increasing the waste simultaneously, leading to more plastic leakage in the environment. To curb this menace, countries like Sweden, Japan have started an initiative to manage their plastic waste. Several countries like Sweden, Japan have started an initiative to convert waste into a resource.
Sweden launched its waste to energy initiative which raises awareness in the very first step of recycling: separation. The country separates their waste into different colored bags, depending on the type of waste, and the recycling plants separate it into recyclable and non-recyclable elements.
Japan on the other hand, also takes recycling very sincerely with its efficient reuse and recycling waste management system. The government of the country promotes and encourages the separation of waste at the initial stages and the citizens rigorously manage their own waste through a system of classification and pick-up schedules that they fulfill flawlessly.