Updated: May 6
Forbes, 22 January 2021
The start of 2021 has ushered in a tremendous amount of optimism about our ability to address some of our biggest global crises – from a coronavirus vaccine rollout to COP26 and Climate Change. But it’s not just pollyannaish hope running abound. The world is poised — unlike never before — to take a step change in the fight against plastic waste and turn it into a recovery driver, creating jobs and economic development at a time when it is needed most.
As far as the U.S. is concerned, one place we can start is by investing in our recycling infrastructure. The fact is that we haven’t really updated recycling infrastructure and related new technologies for roughly 20 years. I’ve written before about our dated legacy infrastructure that hasn’t kept pace with the evolution of plastic packaging and as a result we can’t recycle a lot of the products we consume every day, like baby food pouches and tubes of toothpaste.
And we need to. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because lack of investment in the U.S. has restricted our ability to play the critical leadership role in achieving the vision of global waste-to-value economy – and that’s the only way this is going to work. What’s more, it is the economically smart thing for the U.S. to do. Investment in our waste infrastructure can help us jump-start our advanced recycling and waste management industries, which will create jobs and improve international trade.
Here are four reasons why 2021 may just be the year where it all starts to happen.