Every year, around 21.2 billion tonnes of waste is sent to landfill around the world.
Until January 2018, many Western European countries, including Ireland and the UK, sent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of municipal waste to China, where it would be buried or incinerated. China has since declared that it would no longer be accepting importation 24 different types of plastic waste – so, what should we do with the excess?
Today, scientists estimate that we need around 1.6 planets to provide the resources for our consumption and to absorb that waste.
Mass production of plastics, which began just six decades ago, has accelerated so rapidly that it has created 8.3 billion tonnes. Of this, about 6.3 billion tonnes has become waste, and only 9% has been recycled.
We are now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, more than half of which is for single use, such as straws and plastic cutlery.
More than 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. By 2050, it is estimated that the total weight of plastic in our oceans will be greater than the total weight of fish.