“Necessity is the mother of all innovations”—goes an old saying. On the recent global catastrophe timer set by the plastic pollution or plastic bottle pollution, humanity craves for innovative solutions that would do away with plastic pollution permanently. With the situation gradually going out of bounds and the planet getting choked gradually due to plastic, nothing is more necessary than innovations to combat plastic. This has been more exemplified by the repeated failure of administrators to find out viable routes to win the battle against plastic pollution. Even though plastic ban approaches are becoming more and more common, there is a lack in proper enforcement and hence final results.
Hence, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs are toiling hard to conjure up some ground-breaking solutions to beat plastic’s devastating effects. Be it anti-plastic alternatives or better waste management procedures, innovations are fast coming to the fore. Here is a compilation of some of the most famed ones.
The Ocean Cleanup Project The brain-child of Boyan Slat from Netherlands, this ambitious project is the biggest ocean cleanup initiative ever. The organization—The Ocean Cleanup—has developed a drifting V-shaped system with flexible parts to concentrate all surface plastic to a centre as it floats through a garbage patch. A big ship would easily then collect all the concentrated plastic waste.
The organization has raised about 31.5 million dollars till now and the project aims to clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the next 5 years and 90% of all ocean surface plastic wastes by 2040!
Sea Bin Created by two Australian surfers, it’s a bucket with an in-built pump and water filtration mechanism that can suck any wastage floating on the water surface. This also includes an oil-water system that can filter out oil and remove clean water from other end
Still in its primary stages, this product has been installed in several marinas around the globe such as in San Diego and Finland. The innovative solution would be soon launched to the masses after successful testing
Plaxx The British firm, Recycling Technologies has unveiled a huge machine in London. In a ground-breaking capability, the machine can consume loads of plastic trash and even broken electronic wastes and turn them into usable items or oil!
According to a report by Bloomberg, the machine uses the pyrolysis technique to melt all debris into vapour on exposure to high heat. The mix of plastics are hence broken down to much basic and smaller molecules that can be conjured into a energy-producing fuel
Loliware A company founded by Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker, they are famed for coming up with edible cutlery. In a recent innovation that made big stir, they invented an edible alternative to plastic straws. In Britain alone, around 8.5 billion straws are thrown away annually which begs the requirement of an ideal alternative.
Made from seaweed as the main ingredient, these plastic straws come in a number of edible flavours and can be consumed after the main drink is finished. It’s completely healthy and is completely biodegradable in case it’s thrown away.
Ooho Plastic water bottles are perhaps the biggest contributors to plastic pollution everywhere. They are usually dumped carelessly after the water is consumed. In a fact, hundreds of billions of them are thrown away annually on an annual basis. This is a surprising alternative to plastic water bottles
Pierre-Yves Paslier and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez have invented a special water pouch that has an edible packaging. One can simply gobble up the whole wobbly-gobbly circular water pouch and it has simply no side-effects! The membrane, made of seaweed, can be spit out which usually degrades within weeks in the natural environment!
Plastic Man of India This one goes to India’s very own pride—Dr. Rajagopalan Vasudevan. In 2002, he pioneered the usage of plastic waste for road manufacturing. He utilized a mixture of plastic waste and bitumen to create finer quality roads that have better impact value and lesser wear and tear.
He then went on to create ‘plastone’ in 2012— a mixture of plastic waste and stone that can be used for flooring, outdoor manufacturing. It can be an effective liner for water bodies, especially canals, preventing water seepage. This is a cheap and stronger substitute for cement blocks.
This is really exciting times for anti-plastic campaigners and for humanity as a whole. Governments and public corporations should look out for such solutions, reach out to such innovators, and promote more such initiatives through funded competitions or schemes, for example. Global players need to come together to allow these type of solutions to thrive and come into the commercial market. We need to globalize the solution just as globalized the problem of plastic pollution or plastic bottle pollution is. Only through this, will the dream of a plastic-free world finally become true.
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