The results over the last five decades are clear. Industrial waste management inevitably disperses plastic loose into the biosphere while increasing plastic consumption, production and CO2 emissions. Keeping plastic out of industry is essential to reducing CO2 emissions and plastic pollution.
To ensure that plastic is safe for the next 1000 years, it is essential that its road through time avoids industrial processing– such as recycling, incineration and dumpling. It is also essential to undermine the illusion of a solution created by industrial methods that encourages continued consumption.
Research shows that recycling is systematically designed to encourage the perception of a solution, and thereby enable the ongoing production and consumption of virgin plastic. Over the last 50 years, only 9% of plastic has been recycled. Pursuing the recovery of the capital value of plastic industrial recycling, waste-to-energy incineration, and land-filling have led to the release of 91% of all plastic ever created into the environment.
While industrial systems may have the best intentions, as they operate within the petro-capital economy they are constrained to its forces. Industrial methods are driven by profit to recover the recover the capital-value of plastic. Once this value is exhausted, plastic is cycled out of Industry to the biosphere.
Industrial methods, such as recycling, incineration and landfilling promote the dispersal of plastic. Moving from its original source of compacted carbon, to refinement, to a plastic pellet, to a product that is exported around the world, industrial system are fundamentally expansive. The resulting plastic is reused-several-times, then inevitably set loose into the environment through incineration, landfilling, dumping and degradation.
In contrast, non-industrial communities have built structures and intentions that have lasted well over a thousand years. By keeping our plastic local we have far more control and conf
idence over its destiny. By making collective decisions as communities to safeguard plastic through sequestration, we can pass on the responsibility through the generations. By putting sequestered plastic to use in known, safe, stable locations, we can also be confident about its journey through time.
See our white paper for extensive documentation of the research and science referred to here.