A topic removed from our core focus area, yet a critical topic around the world – Plastic.

ESI Africa, in support of the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme, is behind the mass ‘break up’ with plastic.

“Our love-in with disposable plastics has a toxic side effect,” Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said about the film, Turn the Tide on Plastic.

“This Valentine’s Day we are urging people to break up with throwaway bottles, straws, utensils and bags and help turn the tide on plastic waste.”

“It’s not me, it’s you”

What plastic is doing to the world

A UN initiative, Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic, estimates that 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean every year. Adding that 60-90% of marine litter is made up of different plastic polymers.

Plastic to power

In 2015, Doug Woodring, director and co-founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, and Steve Russell, American Chemistry Council, wrote a piece (published on Live Science) that highlighted plastics-to-fuel technology development.

The duo explained: “Plastics are collected and sorted for recycling. Then the non-recycled plastics (or residuals) are shipped to a plastics-to-fuel facility, where they are heated in an oxygen-free environment, melted and vaporised into gases. The gases are then cooled and condensed into a variety of useful products. Plastics-to-fuel technologies do not involve combustion.

“Depending on the specific technology, products can include synthetic crude or refined fuels for home heating; ingredients for diesel, gasoline or kerosene; or fuel for industrial combined heat and power.”

They added: “By tapping the potential of non-recycled plastics, the US could support up to 600 plastics-to-fuel facilities and generate nearly 39,000 jobs, resulting in nearly $9 billion in economic output from plastics-to-fuel operations.

With research and development underway in the power and energy sector to convert plastic waste into a power resource, industries across the board can get on board with this global initiative and work together to ‘turn the tide on plastic’.

Featured image: Stock

@UNEP #CleanSeas! #ValentinesDay