environmental_work.docx - Running head ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES...

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Running head: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY 1 Circular Economy: Solution to Plastics in the Ocean Catastrophe Name Date
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY 2 Circular Economy: Solutions to the Plastics in the Ocean Catastrophe Introduction The Circular Economy (CE) refers to a production and consumption model that aims to extend the life cycle of products. It involves sharing, leasing, reusing, and recycling existing products for as long as it takes. Circular Economy is a concept in the industry that aims to turn goods at the end of their service life into resources for others; therefore, this concept strives to provide sustainable solutions by reducing waste and closing loops within the industrial ecosystem. According to Korhonen et al. (2014), the impact of the Circular Economy could be so monumental that the European Union estimates that such a transition could create over 600 billion euros in annual economic gain for the EU’s manufacturing sector. Furthermore, more countries are realizing the benefits of CE and are adopting it into their strategic growth plans. For example, after many years of economic growth, China has adopted the concept of CE in their last two ‘Five Year Plans.’ (Korhonen et al., 2014). The plastic production industry produces over 300 million tons of plastic each year to be used in a variety of applications. The International Union of Conservation of Nature (2021) observes that out of these 300 million tons of plastics produced each year, eight million tons end up in the ocean. Currently, eighty percent of marine debris is plastics, which can be found in both surface water and deep-sea sediments. Not only does plastic pollution poison marine life, it threatens human health and food safety and also contributes to climate change. Plastics waste still persists because of the linear make-use-dispose model, which encourages greater production and littler conservation. One way of managing the plastic waste menace is by bringing plastics into the circular economy. Ways by which plastics can be brought into the circular economy involve developing strategies for plastics after being used, making recyling more economic,
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY 3 reducing the leakage of plastics into the natural environment, creating a decent market for after- use plastic, and developing a renewable feedstock for plastics. Plastics in the Ocean John Wesley Hyatt invented the first polymer in 1869. Hyatt fits the description of a social entrepreneur judging from the numerous applications of his revolutionary invention (Davis, 2015). The impact of Hyatt’s discovery was immediately felt; for the first time in human history, the manufacturing industry was no longer constrained by the limits of nature. Humans could now create materials, and advertisements praised celluloid as saviors of the environment, given that plastics had provided a gateway to protecting the natural environment from the destructive forces of human needs (Davis, 2015). Hyatt’s invention prompted the world-leading

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