Measuring Your Plastic Footprint

Read the full post at NYT Green.

With climate change and carbon dioxide emissions dominating the environmental conversation much of the time, the issue of plastic pollution tends to get short shrift. Still, the problem is worrying enough to be stirring serious concern among environmental and scientific experts, especially when it comes to plastic that ends up in the oceans, where it never quite biodegrades and can form a swelling gyre of sludge.

Beach and river cleanups simply no longer suffice. With plastic consumption growing, some are calling for a bigger-picture attempt to reduce wasteful use of plastic, increase recycling and raise awareness that plastic is essentially stored petroleum. Enter the Plastic Disclosure Project, an initiative that echoes the well-established Carbon Disclosure Project.

As I report in greater detail in this Green Column, the idea in each case is to get companies and institutions to assess their carbon — or plastic — “footprint” by taking a good, long look at how much they and their suppliers use, reuse and recycle.

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