When it comes to protecting our environment, plastic pollution is often at the top of our minds. Imagine 25,000 school buses together, that's how much plastic waste we generate EVERY SINGLE DAY! Finding cost-effective, widely-available, biodegradable alternative to plastic is a must, but scientists say that such material is still years away. The reality is that more plastic is being produced exponentially to meet the demands of an exploding population on Earth - UNEP projects that the volume will double in 2050. For developing countries that rely on cheap plastics for most common household items and without a sound waste management system, these plastics simply get dumped in landfills, flowing into rivers and oceans. What to do?
One idea to tackle this problem is to recycle the plastic that is already produced. Currently, only about 10% of the plastics generated are recycled. More markets and technologies are being developed, such as plastic bricks.
Kashaf Akhtar, the founder of EcoBricks in Pakistan, is a young entrepreneur with a passion for creating a sustainable future. She brought her mechanical engineering training to establish the first plastic bricks business in Pakistan six months ago. Now her company has more orders than her machines and staff can produce. EcoBricks sources materials from local waste segregators and manufactures plastic pavers for clients. Through EcoBricks, Kashaf is offering fair wages to employees, reducing plastic waste in her community, and helping to change people's attitudes toward throwing trash on the streets.
Governments can write laws and policies, fund systems and projects to encourage a greener economy, but those who roll up their sleeves, creating products, markets and jobs are shaping our livelihood right this minute. We are so excited to learn from Kashaf as one of the Case Study Partners in the Green Jobs in the Green Economy Online Forum!