Plastic waste is rapidly becoming a growing issue facing our planet and society. We are living in a world that’s used to discarding most of the materials after a few minutes or days of use. In addition, the consumption levels per person for disposable products are rising and generating huge amounts of waste.
Precious Plastic Workspace Bremen can help people start seeing plastic as a valuable and beautiful material that should be preserved for long-term uses instead of single-use packaging.
Waste management has become a huge challenge for countries worldwide due to the vast amounts of waste produced from modern consumption. Unfortunately, most of this waste ends up in landfills, burned, or even worse – in environments such as the ocean. Unfortunately, the use of plastic in single-use packaging has significantly increased over the last 20 years. Plastic waste is especially an issue because of a long time it takes to degrade.
The concept of circular economy is becoming increasingly known as an alternative to the linear model of production and consumption prevalent since the industrial revolution. The circular economy aims to shift from a pattern of “take-make-consume and dispose of” to a system where products last for as long as possible and waste is eliminated. Worldwide awareness of the waste problem is also growing, as waste is affecting humans, animals, and the environment like never before.
The key to moving to circular models of production is to eliminate the concept of waste as part of the life cycle of products and start seeing materials as a resource that can be used again and again. Since 2015, the European Commission is pushing the transition to the circular economy through an ambitious plan, and one of the first specific targets is plastics. More precisely, the “EU Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy” sets a clear vision that by 2030 all plastic packaging placed on the EU market needs to be reusable or recyclable.
Research of the Everyday Plastic project shows that approximately 67% of the plastic waste that each person produces comes from food industry packaging and films. Similarly, they show that each person throws away approximately 4,490 pieces of plastic per year, an average of 12 pieces a day – shocking numbers. This shows the importance of enlightening people about it, changing the consumption behavior of the private households. This issue however can only be properly tackled by change within the enterprises and bringing communities and industry closer together for cooperation for the benefit of both.
I’m Ricardo Sant’Anna and in December 2019 I started tackling the ocean plastic pollution in Gokarna, India, where I have traveled, for a pilgrimage and meditation retreat. After that in Vietnam, the pandemic already in full effect, I got to know about “Precious Plastic”. Visiting a couple of people and projects dedicated to converting single-use plastic into plastic products for long-term use, I got to learn the practical work of plastic recycling as well Plastic Waste Management with the Social Enterprise “Ever Green Labs” and the project “Reform Plastic Vietnam”. Previous to that, back in the late 90s and early 2000s, I developed a relationship with cooperatives consisting of informal garbage collectors in Brazil, that continue to have my direct support, to ensure progress in the production chain of recycled products and their role as protagonists in the environmental protection services.
Together with a couple of specialized people who are supporting me with the pedagogical work of environmental education for children, youth, and adults; others who are supporting introducing plastic recycled materials for theater installations and general application in the art world; some who are helping to introduce innovation for the use of plastic recycled materials in the construction industry; and others who already are rethinking and influencing the current plastic recycling industry.
Doing so, we aim to showcase how post-consumer plastic waste can be transformed into an innovative material that can be used to craft new beautiful and useful products, setting an example of a circular economy on an industrial scale. A part of creating revenue for people with low education and socio-economic vulnerability. In this way, we also create consciousness around the plastic waste problem and show that each of us has the ability and responsibility to transform our throw-away consumer culture and reduce the use of single-use plastic, increasing our task force to tackle this Plastic Pollution worldwide, what directly could positively impact peoples lives.
Precious Plastic Workspace Bremen is a local branch, for Bremen’s community to learn about plastic waste, recycling, and sustainability by joining this open-source recycling system and creating new products and businesses, based on plastic waste and its recycling.