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Break (Down) the (Re) Cycle - The Hazy Future of Pollution

By Simon Williams
November 12, 2018

The world is slow to change. As little as 100 years ago, women weren’t allowed to vote, and the first big steps towards stopping global pollution only began to be taken in the 1960s. At this rate, by the time countries get around to implementing effective policies to prevent pollution, the world will be on a collision course for irreversible damage.

Before you get too bogged down in confusing science, let’s examine the biggest culprits of global pollution, and solutions.

Overprotective Packaging

You’ve bought something new, and you’re opening it. You’re almost past this first layer of plastic and cardboard, when you find another layer of plastic, and twist ties, and even more plastic. There seems to be more packaging than product! This is commonplace in everything from avocados to lip balm. Supermarkets especially are guilty of over-packaging their products.

The inordinate quantity of packaging on products accounts for a big chunk of global pollution. Landfill is full of unrecycled - and worse, unrecyclable - plastic that had only one use before it was carelessly thrown away. Buying smarter is one way of avoiding excessive plastic, and recycling is another.

Landfill Fills Forever

Chances are, if it’s thrown in the bin, it’s going to end up in landfill. Australia is lucky to have infrastructure in place to collect recycling, rubbish, and green waste separately, but it’s not enough. In an ideal world, there would be no waste whatsoever going into landfill.

Landfill doesn’t just sit around harmlessly. Heavy metals and toxic waste seep out and can do untold damage to the environment. At this point, clearing all landfill would only be fighting half the battle. The task of repairing environmental damage, and removing contaminants from soil and water, will pose a problem for decades to come.

Foggy Skies

Global industrialisation has coal to thank for its success. But the first signs of air pollution from coal appeared in the 13th century, and coal is still burned today. The smog in some countries is so thick that the skyline is marred by a permanent fog.

Global rates of asthma have been rising exponentially since the introduction of coal to manufacturing lines. The Great Smog of 1952 claimed at least 4000 lives when a weather phenomenon trapped the smoke and pollutants from home chimneys and factories alike in London, and without a breeze to blow it away, the smog descended and suffocated thousands.

Recycling Right

Small steps are taken everyday to help end global pollution. Supermarkets and restaurants are banning single use plastics, like plastic bags and straws. Closed loop recycling is used by Cartridges Direct to collect empty printer cartridges and either refill them with new ink or break them down into materials that can be repurposed for other products. Forming products using recycled materials, at least in part, takes a huge chunk out of the potential pollution of the manufacturing process.

These global efforts can stop pollution in its tracks.