Who Owns Whom

Glass is natural and sustainable, two characteristics that are listed as industry strengths in our recently published report on the manufacturing of glass. An opportunity for the sector is the rising consumer anti-plastic sentiment.

In the last 65 years the world has produced 8.5 billion tons of plastic, half of that in the last 13 years, and only 9% of the waste has been recycled. An ocean gyre is a system of circular ocean currents formed by the Earth’s wind patterns and the forces created by the rotation of the planet which collects non-biodegradable plastic. There are five major ocean-wide gyres: in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. The swirling pile of trash in the North Pacific Ocean has grown to an area covering 1.6 million square kilometres or three times the size of France.

Oceanic churning reduces much of the plastic to a chemical sludge which is very dangerous to marine life as tiny plankton organisms, which are low on the food chain, consume the particles. Loggerhead sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellies, their favourite food, and albatrosses mistake plastic resin pellets for fish eggs and feed them to chicks which then die of starvation or ruptured organs.

The world is currently producing 8 million tons of plastic every year which could double by 2025 and the only way to reverse that trend is to stop using it. In my view everything tastes better when it comes out of a glass bottle so let’s boycott plastic bottles. While at first drinking from a paper straw may feel a bit strange, paper does no harm. A new machine designed by a young Dutch engineer that can be used to clean up the ocean will be deployed this year and no doubt more innovation will come. For now the trick is to stop adding to the pile.

Protest art in Belgium - whale made from plastic containers

Most Popular Articles

Energy & WaterGreen EnergySouth Africa

Innovation in Energy. From an Obscure Commodity to an Attractive Star Performer?

Read more

MiningSouth Africa

Manufacture of Basic Precious & Non-Ferrous Metals in South Africa

Read more

AquafarmingSouth Africa

Ocean & Coastal fishing and Aquaculture in South Africa

Read more

Related Articles

BlogCountriesIndustries RetailSouth Africa

South Africans embracing online shopping – COVID-19’s unexpected spin-off

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the 4th industrial revolution was just bubbling along. The pandemic fast tracked its adoption and forced even the most sceptical shoppers to find solutions to their...

BlogCountriesIndustries MiningSouth Africa

Manufacture of Basic Precious & Non-Ferrous Metals in South Africa

Responsibility beyond legality The mining and manufacturing of basic precious non-ferrous metals industry remains very important to the South African economy, having had a sterling performance during the pandemic. It...

BlogCountriesIndustries South AfricaTourism and Travel

Travel Agencies, Tour Operators & Related Services

With one bird in hand, can South Africa catch the other 10? Reading the latest WoW report on travel and tourism is refreshing. It tells a story of an industry...