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  • AutorenbildMako Muzenda

Earth Day 2024: Choosing the Planet over Plastic

Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to the natural environment. Humans produce over 350 million metric tons every year, and less than 10% of that waste is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills and oceans, causing harm to wildlife, ecosystems, and even potentially to human health. The plastic problem appears to be an unavoidable part of modern society. Is there a future where we can have the benefits of plastics without the devastating consequences? 

2024’s Earth Day theme is ‘Planet vs Plastics’. This year’s event calls for a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. It’s not an impossible feat, but it will require a significant shift in the production, consumption and disposal of plastics. Th five R’s of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle offer a model. Refusing fossil fuel-based plastics, reusing products, repurposing organic biodegradable materials and recycling existing plastics are part of the circular economy model of minimising waste and circulating materials. 

Reducing consumption and plastic waste is key to protecting the environment and moving away from a fossil-based economy. However, there are still practical needs for plastics. The medical field uses plastics for syringes, IV bags for the material’s sterility, affordability and flexibility. Plastic is also used for prosthetics, pipes and insulation, amongst other application. What is the best way to reduce the harmful impacts of plastics and maintain its usage in necessary fields? The answer is increasingly pointing towards sustainable plastics. From production to disposal, these are materials designed with a focus on reducing environmental impact throughout their lifecycle. There are many benefits of using sustainable plastics. They often use renewable resources or recycled materials, lowering dependence on virgin plastic derived from oil. Biodegradable and compostable plastics address the issue of plastic waste accumulating in landfills and oceans. Some sustainable plastics avoid the inclusion of harmful chemicals sometimes present in traditional plastics. 

We invest in companies that work in the field of sustainable plastics. Based in the United States, Austria and Germany, each company plays a crucial role in promoting the production and usage of sustainable plastics as alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastics. 

Biodegradable and compostable plastics: Made from renewable resources like plant starches or microorganisms, these plastics break down naturally after use, minimizing landfill waste. Companies like BioLogiQ Inc. are pioneering this field, developing bioplastics from organic waste materials. The company is based in Idaho, USA and was established in 2011.  

Chemically recycled plastics: Traditional plastic recycling often results in a lower-quality product. Chemical recycling breaks down used plastics back into their basic building blocks, allowing them to be remade into high-quality plastics again. Based in Linz, Austria, Plastrans Technologies is a frontrunner in this technology, offering a closed-loop process for plastic recycling. 

Carbon capture and utilization: CO2BioClean takes a unique approach. Founded in 2019, they capture carbon emissions from industrial processes and convert them into PHA bioplastics. This not only reduces reliance on fossil fuels for plastic production but also helps combat climate change. CO2BioClean is headquartered in Eschborn, Germany, and is currently building its pilot plant in the country. 

Sustainable plastics are a promising example of plastics that follow a model of responsible production and consumption. By embracing these advancements alongside responsible consumption habits, we can turn the tide on plastic pollution and achieve a more sustainable balance between Planet and Plastics.  

This Earth Day, Ghazan Global celebrates the innovation of Plastrans Technologies, CO2BioClean, and BioLogiQ, and we support their research and operations that are paving the way for a cleaner future.

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