Our addiction to plastic is catastrophic. Remnants of our products have spread to every corner of the planet, and they don’t degrade. The more we make, the more ends up in our environment, polluting our oceans, killing wildlife, and suffocating the planet. 

Certain parts of Asia are especially susceptible to plastic waste. Thailand is one of five Asian countries that, combined, contribute more than the rest of the world to plastic waste in our oceans. These countries are experiencing rapid economic growth, and with that comes increased consumption. 

A possible solution to the unending wave of single use plastics is replacing them with biodegradable alternatives. One company in Thailand is making packaging from cassava starch, which takes between six and twelve months to decompose. Cassava plays a major role in the Thai economy: it is produced in vast amounts for animal feed and making starch, and it grows easily all over Thailand. 

Meanwhile in Spain, Plastic Energy in Andalusia takes non-recyclable plastics and converts them into usable oils. 80% of household recycling ends up being incinerated or sent to landfill, and mixed plastics pose a particular problem, as they are very difficult to break down into their constituent parts. The company uses thermal anaerobic conversion to heat the plastic to 450 degrees celsius, and break down the plastic into an oil similar to petroleum, which has a variety of uses.

 Originally created and published by Bloomberg

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