Here’s the situation. Currently, 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste are generated annually, with 33% not being handled in an environmentally safe manner. Of these 2.01 billion tons, high income countries generate over 1/3, despite only accounting for 16% of the population. Some equally alarming statistics from 2015 show that 79% of plastics end up in landfills, dumps or as litter in the environment. 12% are incinerated and only 9% are in fact recycled. If our current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 megatons (1,000,000 tons = megaton) of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050. This represents an increase of 70% in the next 30 years.
We are told – and most of us know deep down inside – we need to recycle more, live more sustainably, do more to shift the trajectory we are on. At the moment those who are engaged in the problem feel as though they are calling for help and it is falling on deaf ears. Care for the environment and sustainable living is arguably a sphere where the committed are passionately committed, and the rest trail behind in terms of participation and proactivity. So, how can you engage people, how do you engage people, when they are passive on an issue as troubling as waste and the environment?
Download our latest whitepaper on the state of waste management and recycling as we look at what steps can be taken to improve engagement and drive behaviour change towards meeting global and national objectives.
With special thanks to Beverly Eckerman, Director of AVC WEECO Ltd, for her collaboration and insight.