Nature works in circles. Plants grow from seeds, use soil nutrients, water and sunlight to bear flowers and fruits, and seeds from which more plants grow… This is an obvious contrast to the linear and ineffective manner in which materials and energy are (mis)treated in the artificial human economy that has burgeoned following the industrial revolution. With the acceleration of technology, we have now come to take materials and energy for granted,1 forgetting that there is precious wisdom in the intricate circular patterns of life that nature effortlessly pursues. Fortunately, this wisdom can be emulated to develop an entire human economy that is circular by design.
The need for such a circular economy is now more urgent and necessary than ever, with non-renewable materials such as plastic, which are efficient and versatile by themselves, being misused and thrown away in enormous quantities,2 resulting in widespread pollution and disturbance to natural cycles and wildlife.3 Plastic is found in sea-salt,4 on Mt. Everest,5 in packaged foods,6 and less than 9% of it is recycled worldwide.7 Plastic straws, cups, bottles, clothes, fibres, and many more items litter the oceans, forming floating islands that are larger than Texas;8 this is a gargantuan problem indeed!
However, the very technology that gave us plastic can also be used as a saving grace to redress the myriad problems by creating innovative and specific solutions, technical as well as cultural.9 Seeking to facilitate the pursuit of such solutions by the industry and the academia, Techstain Technologies is hosting a conference on CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR PLASTICS in association with the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT B) and Ohio State University on 15th March 2019.
This first post on circular economy for plastics is a brief and broad inception to a series of articles that we will post about various aspects of this niche and novel avenue called Circular Economy. We will also introduce you to speakers who will enlighten us at the event about the various solutions and innovations in circular economy that could be brought about as a result of this new horizon of scientific adventure.