“Our planet is choking on plastic.”
Unfortunately, this dire warning from the United Nations is not an exaggeration. Consumers around the world buy a million plastic bottles every day, which is equivalent to 400 million metric tons of plastic waste per year. Half of all plastic is used once and thrown away. Today, less than one seventh (14%) of plastic packaging globally it is collected for recycling.
But plastic pollution is more than an environmental problem. It is also a commercial problem. For organizations around the world, the pressure is coming from many fronts to close the gap between what they could do and what they are doing to promote sustainable practices, especially with plastic pollution.
In 2022, the UN passed a resolution on plastic manufacturing and recycling as the first step towards a legally binding international instrument. The UN Plastics Treaty is part of the global drive towards a circular economy– An approach to keeping materials and products in circulation as long as possible to help solve global challenges, including climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
The Plastics Treaty is not theoretical. It will come to life in 2024. And already, forward-thinking organizations in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) are seeing the drive towards a circular economy as more than just a compliance obligation.
For APJ’s sustainability leaders, the environmental drive offers an opportunity to get ahead of their competitors by building business models that make sustainability a central element of their growth strategies. These companies are now limiting plastic pollution both downstream, through collection and recycling, and upstream, by sourcing sustainable materials.
Today, some of these companies are taking inspiration from sustainability innovators outside of APJ who are demonstrating ways to get even better results from a circular economy strategy, designing products intended for reuse and recycling based on an understanding insight into its actions throughout the supply chain, production and sales.
Reform business models
mohicanThe world’s largest flooring company is carefully revamping its business models to reduce plastic pollution.
The US-based company once made its rugs entirely from virgin polyester. Today, Mohawk makes its carpet fibers entirely from plastic bottles—approximately 6.6 million bottles are used each year. In a recent year, Mohawk saved $4.3 million in landfill and transportation costs, as well as the costs of treating and discharging water to public sewer systems.
Mohawk is built on the sustainability partnership of large retail partners like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and ACE Hardware. “We don’t sell to the end consumer,” says Jana Kanyadan, SVP and CIO, Mohawk Industries, “but the end consumer touches our product every day, whether at home or at work. We need to make sure the end consumer is well informed about our products, and we are appealing to them.
Many organizations view consumers as enthusiastic participants in and advocates for plastic pollution mitigation. With the help of its audience, Chilean vending machine startup Algramo has phased out single-use plastics, changing its model to incorporate reusable packaging that encourages people to pay for products, not packaging.
Customers who use the Algramo app to order pet food, laundry detergent and many other products fill their own containers with their vending machine purchases. Now pilotage Following its model in New York and in Chile, Algramo aims to lead a “recharging evolution” that demonstrates the kind of ingenuity that drives the circular economy.
Identification of problematic points through technology.
Plastic taxes on businesses have focused on how products are made and disposed of, but upcoming regulations are likely to impose more obligations on the level of use of plastics, their material streams, and how customers use, reuse, and reuse them. , recycle and recover.
To stay ahead of the competition, some organizations are raising their own responsibility for the use of plastics in their sourcing, production and sales functions.
Fashion retail is one of the most polluting industries on the planet: 87% of fiber inputs end up in landfills. Understand how retailers can feel paralyzed by goals as ambitious as achieving 100% sustainability by 2030. Stephanie Benedetto created Queen of Raw in New York to help stores identify valuable waste in their supply chains and access a marketplace that allows them to buy and sell unused textiles that would otherwise be burned or buried.
Lack of data across the life cycle of plastics and gaps in monitoring have long hampered companies wanting to reduce their plastic use. Queen of Raw helps fashion retailers capture such data through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to help identify trouble spots and reduce plastic pollution.
As pressure to address plastic pollution increases, organizations can only succeed if they understand the types and volume of plastics they use and where they sit in their value chain. Organizations using a circular economy strategy must combine data transparency with collaboration in their upstream and downstream supply chains. And they will increasingly need to align their environmental, sustainability and governance outcomes, including plastic pollution, with financial processes and decisions.
Doing good for the Earth is a business imperative. Increasingly, sustainability goes hand in hand with profitability. And organizations that take advantage of growing consumer demand and regulatory mandates to reduce and reuse plastic may find themselves leading competitors who are ignoring the signs—competitors who might be throwing not only their plastic but also their profits into the landfill.
Discover how a circular economy it can help you address the impact of the linear economy on the planet, on people, and on business. Learn more about calculating Extended Producer Responsibility Obligations, Plastic Taxes, and corporate commitments to optimize material selection.
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