Amity Insight reports
The Waste Problem 16 Oct 2018
Esmé van Herwijnen
Responsible Investment Analyst
The World generates about 3.5 million tonnes of solid waste a day, a significant amount that is now becoming a major challenge. According to the World Bank, around 10 times more waste is produced now than a hundred years ago and this is expected to triple by the end of the century, exceeding 11 million tonnes per day1. The scale of the problem is huge and plastic pollution in particular has become a serious threat to the oceans and marine biology. Whales washing up on beaches with their stomachs filled with plastic and turtles trapped in floating plastic debris are just some of the iconic images of our destructive relationship with waste. The waste we produce does not just affect marine animals; it also affects our soil, drinking water and human health.
In this Amity Insight we explore the issue of waste and how our economic model has led to the depletion of resources and an exponential increase in waste production. Instead, a different approach is needed and we will look at companies that are innovating and are part of the solution.
Whilst every aspect of our economy generates waste, in this Insight we decided to have a close look at plastic waste and to examine three different sectors and their respective approaches to waste management: the textile industry, electronics and construction. To read about our research on food waste please refer to our previous Amity Insight “Hungry Planet Revisited”.
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As always, we hope you enjoy this Amity Insight, and we welcome your comments and feedback.