Knowledge for better food systems

Fixing the system: dealing with plastic pollution

This report from the UK think tank Green Alliance argues that the problem of plastic pollution cannot be solved by simply replacing plastic with alternative materials - instead, a system-wide transition to a circular economy is required, prioritising safety, sustainability and efficiency. The report focuses on the UK’s culture of single-use packaging.

The report recommends using a hierarchy for types of plastic recycling to keep material circulating at its highest possible quality: mechanical recycling (which uses relatively little energy), followed by chemical depolymerisation and then thermal cracking. The report also discusses the proposed tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content.

Read the full report, Fixing the system: Why a circular economy for all materials is the only way to solve the plastic problem, here (PDF link). See also the video Imke de Boer - Circular agriculture, a good idea? in the Foodsource video library.

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Europe

Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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