Well its been three months of hopping between islands and trying frantically to find solutions to one of the world’s most wicked problems; Plastic. The biggest lesson I took away from my time in the Bay Islands is that there is no silver bullet to the plastic pollution crisis. Plastic is a victim of its own success. Its cost-effectiveness, versatility, and durability makes it the perfect product for a wide-variety of customer needs, but also the worst form of waste due to its persistence in the world after we throw it away. Keeping these issues in mind I pursued several angles of business-focused initiatives to try to find some practical solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.
My biggest projects on the Bay Islands centered around waste plastic reprocessing, distribution of alternatives products to plastic, and the training of company employees to increase their awareness of the plastic pollution crisis and available alternatives. Addressing the market for plastics by providing alternatives, processing waste plastic into valuable commercial products, and increasing public awareness of plastic issues are all key elements of reducing the impact of plastic on a community.
There are a wide variety of solutions already available to address plastic pollution. I learned from my time in the Bay Islands that the most important element of any initiative is a group of dedicated and passionate individuals who care about improving their community. Without a group of local people investing their time, efforts, and ideas to pushing forward solutions to single-use plastic waste, any imported ideas won’t make a dent in the problem.
Now that I am back in the United States I am reinvigorated by the knowledge that community leaders and businesses are dedicated to solving the plastic waste crisis in the Bay Islands.
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I hope, with the project “The Ocean CleanUp” the problem could be solved at least a little bit. But I’ve read, that the scientists found plastic even on the ground of the Mariana Trench. Just sad…