Circular economy in Africa: Plastics

Our current take-make-waste linear plastics economy has significant negative impacts on the environment and on local communities, with low-income and vulnerable communities often being the most heavily impacted. Plastic waste entering the ocean represents a potential threat to food security and economic development, and unmanaged waste on land may also contribute to the spread of diseases and viruses, such as malaria or Ebola. As such, plastic pollution presents not only an environmental issue, but also a major socio-economic and development challenge. Moving away from today’s linear model and fundamentally rethinking the design, use, and reuse of plastics is crucial to tackle plastic pollution and enable healthier livelihoods and economic development. A comprehensive circular economy approach to plastics is the only solution that can match the scale of the problem. This article discusses three key strategies that help design out packaging waste.