Less than 10% of the world’s plastic is currently recycled, with production that has doubled since 2000 and peaked at 367 million tons in 2020.
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Bypass has already been reached. The huge amounts of plastic and chemicals produced by mankind exceed “planetary boundaries”, According to a study conducted by Stockholm Resilience Centre, posted on Tuesday 15 February. This center does reference work on the “planetary boundaries”, in nine areas (climate change, fresh water use, ocean acidification, etc.).
According to the study’s authors, while all efforts to prevent these substances from reaching the environment deserve attention, the scale of the problem prompts consideration of more radical solutions, such as capping production. Especially since recycling is showing modest results, with less than 10% of global plastic recycled, production doubling since 2000 and peaking at 367 million tons in 2020.
With a mixture of 350,000 synthetic products invented by man and large amounts ending up in the atmosphere or in the environment, “The effects we are beginning to notice are large enough to affect the vital functions of the planet and its ecosystems,” Insists Bethany Carney Elmroth, co-author of the study.
The authors also question the effect of “new entities”, that is, all man-made products (plastics, antibiotics, pesticides, etc.) as well as metals in their unnatural concentration. “We are only just beginning to understand the long-term and broad implications of these exposures.”researcher says.
He warns that efforts made at the level of primary production or waste management will not make it possible to ignore the decline in manufactured volumes. “It seems self-evident but only recently has it been taken up as a fact: the more you produce, the more you reject”she begs.
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