The Plastic Diversion Initiative (PDI) has released a white paper that proposes a solution to address the global plastic waste problem.
PDI was launched by a collective of organizations and individuals in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with a mission to divert recyclable plastic from landfills and the natural environment while creating thousands of new jobs across America.
“We believe the circular plastics economy is extremely inefficient and that is the root of the problem,” says PDI founder and CEO of Austin, Texas-based plastics recycling online marketplace Scrapo Inc. Rashad Abbasov. “Unfortunately, it’s a lot cheaper to dispose of plastic waste than recycle it, and that’s the main reason why it ends up in landfills. With plastic production expected to triple by 2050, growing inefficiency of the circular plastics economy may lead to complete failure and collapse of the system with colossal economic and environmental consequences.”
PDI’s white paper introduces a “circular plastics park,” or a zero-waste, efficient circular plastics ecosystem where plastic resources are conserved, recovered and redirected back to domestic manufacturing supply chains.
Such parks would feature a plastic conservation center, which is a facility where plastic without existing markets or a lack of quantity can be recovered, conglomerated for processing or conserved for future use; recycling infrastructure that includes mechanical and chemical recycling facilities built around the conservation center to recycle and/or convert recovered plastic resources; and a recycled plastic marketplace, which is a technology platform designed to connect plastic recycling infrastructure with plastic manufacturers/end users and develop new markets for recycled plastic.
Such parks will conserve and recover plastic resources that otherwise would end up in landfills and the ocean, according to PDI. Efficiency will be achieved by eliminating transportation and transaction costs, as well as by eliminating the cost of sourcing and intermediation while significantly increasing the output. Proximity to large and consolidated feedstock will help achieve “economies of scale” and further increase the efficiency, the white paper says. Furthermore, collaboration and interactions between businesses in the circular park will create multiple operational synergies.
“We believe the concentration of technologically advanced recycling facilities, huge and cheap feedstock and the recycled plastic marketplace in close proximity will dramatically reduce the transaction costs and increase the efficiency,” Abbasov says. “More importantly, circular plastics parks will employ thousands of people across America and help bring back jobs that have been lost due to global pandemic and inefficiency of the circular plastics economy.”
PDI says the parks would “drive innovation and serve as a magnet for green tech startups, entrepreneurs and venture capital, which in effect may lay the foundation for a much larger ecosystem for green technology.”
“Plastic waste is a common problem, and we can solve it when we work together, which is why we need the support of every individual and corporation, federal and local governments, nonprofit organizations and private foundations,” Abbasov says. “We are calling on those who share our mission to partner with us in building the circular plastics parks in the United States and other parts of the world to stop plastic waste and effectively divert plastic from the natural environment.”