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People power plastics revolution

Greenpeace reported earlier this month that the 7-Eleven chain in Taiwan has announced plans to phase out single-use plastics. The iconic convenience store is ubiquitous in Taipei and has committed to a 10% annual reduction in usage, in a move which will see them ditch single-use plastics completely by 2050.

The chain deserves praise for being the first in Asia to take this step. Which follows a petition signed by nearly a quarter of a million citizens urging retailers in the country, including 7-Eleven, to start reducing single-use plastics now.

The public know there is no time to waste. Between 1950-2015 global plastics production skyrocketed to over 350 million metric tonnes, with half of all plastics ever made being produced since 2005. On some estimates, there will be ‘more plastics than fish (by weight)’ in the sea by 2050 unless efforts are stepped up significantly to win the war on the plastics.

There are positive signs though, with corporations worldwide taking tougher measures to slash their dependence on this toxic pollutant destroying the planet. People power is proving key to pushing corporates and governments into acting faster to tackle the scourge of plastic waste. And governments are doing likewise. Last year 180 countries agreed to place strict limits on exports of plastic waste from richer countries to poorer countries, although America was one of few who didn’t ratify the global ban.

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Susan Robertson
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Susan is the co-founder of Innovators Magazine and a consultant for OnePoint5 Media. Susan is also a member of the UNFCCC-led Resilience Frontiers Nexus group and co-chair of the APOPO Foundation UK board.

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