Reuse: Rethinking Packaging Report

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation outlines key reuse models for businesses and governments to engage with in efforts to address the plastic crisis. Key reuse models covered in the report include: refilling at home, refilling on the go, returning from home, and returning on the go. The report includes dozens of examples of reuse across sectors spanning home and personal care, transport packaging, grocery, beverages, cup solutions, and takeaway and ready meals.

Learn how to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items with Reuse DC, a platform that helps foster and facilitate reuse, repair, sharing, and other zero-waste behaviors and habits. Reuse DC is the District’s hub for learning where to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items. Search the online directory, explore how to exchange items with your neighbors, learn about the importance of food recovery, and more!

In “Circular Claims Fall Flat Again,” Greenpeace lays out five key reasons why plastic recycling has failed now and in the past, and shows how the world has reached a decision point on single-use plastics and packaging. The report demonstrates that attaining solutions-oriented alternatives, such as refill and reuse systems, is possible and serves communities and individuals much better than the status quo. Lastly, Greenpeace lists final recommendations for companies that seek to be a part of real solutions to plastic pollution.

Tearfund explores the crucial links between plastic pollution and global poverty, and the role the new Plastics Treaty can play in addressing both of these issues, in its report Plastic pollution and poverty: A briefing to inform negotiations on a UN treaty on plastics. The report is available in English (and soon, in Spanish, Portuguese, and French languages).

In the paper, Tearfund highlights the impacts of plastic pollution on people’s health, environment and livelihoods in low- and middle-income countries. It outlines the role of the informal waste sector and explores what a ‘just transition’ to a safe, inclusive circular economy would mean for them and for communities in LMICs who depend on plastic.

Tearfund demonstrates how the Global Plastics Treaty provides a key opportunity to make real progress in tackling poverty, both by lessening the impact of plastic pollution on people living in poverty through reducing use of plastics, and by seizing the opportunity to create improved livelihoods within a circular economy in plastics.  

GAIA’s flagship climate report (released October 4, 2022) provides the most current, comprehensive research on how zero waste is an essential climate solution. Through the publication of this report alongside supplementary communications and advocacy materials, GAIA aims to support member-driven zero waste campaigns in your communities to give decisionmakers clear and decisive information on why they should invest in zero waste as a way to reduce climate emissions and build a just transition to a more climate-resilient future, providing a host of social, environmental, and economic benefits. 

The report contains four parts: 

  • Zero waste and climate mitigation: How zero waste is a critical strategy to hit GHG reduction targets 
  • Zero waste and climate adaptation: How zero waste helps cities become more resilient in the face of accelerating climate disasters
  • Co-benefits: How zero waste can bring about a just transition to more and better green jobs, reduce poverty, strengthen local economies and more
  • Case studies: A calculation of how many GHG emissions savings cities around the world could achieve if they were to adopt a slate of zero waste strategies

Much of what you’ve heard about plastic pollution may be wrong. Instead of a great island of trash, the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of manmade debris spread over hundreds of miles of sea—more like a soup than a floating garbage dump. Recycling is more complicated than we were taught: less than nine percent of the plastic we create is reused, and the majority ends up in the ocean. And plastic pollution isn’t confined to the open ocean: it’s in much of the air we breathe and the food we eat.  

In Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis, journalist Erica Cirino brings readers on a globe-hopping journey to meet the scientists and activists telling the real story of the plastic crisis. From the deck of a plastic-hunting sailboat with a disabled engine, to the labs doing cutting-edge research on microplastics and the chemicals we ingest, Cirino paints a full picture of how plastic pollution is threatening wildlife and human health. Thicker Than Water reveals that the plastic crisis is also a tale of environmental injustice, as poorer nations take in a larger share of the world’s trash, and manufacturing chemicals threaten predominantly Black and low-income communities.  

There is some hope on the horizon, with new laws banning single-use items and technological innovations to replace plastic in our lives. But Cirino shows that we can only fix the problem if we face its full scope and begin to repair our throwaway culture. Thicker Than Water is an eloquent call to reexamine the systems churning out waves of plastic waste.