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An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year — a large number, but dwarfed by the roughly 4.9 billion tons of plastic waste dumped on land and sea since 1950.
The cause: 50 years of disposable plastic products and packaging, with globally inadequate investment in low-waste alternatives and recycling systems. Consumers do not pay — and few companies voluntarily shoulder the full cost of preventing or cleaning up the waste produced by their products. A key barrier to both investment and the rapid adoption of better solutions and policies remains sheer cost.
Much of the world has explored plastic bans, taxes, alternative materials or producer responsibility regulations, but little focus has been given to the potential financial incentives that can drive needed investment and make solutions cheaper, even profitable.
Fortunately, an innovative new class of free market solutions called Clean Tax Cuts, or CTCs, can directly drive up investment and also drive down that crucial cost barrier that has left the world with a large gap in recycling and material recovery capacity.