Picture caption: Jeffrey Seay and Mary Ellen Ternes meet with representatives from Cameroon at INC3 in Nairobi, Kenya.
ESES President Jeffrey Seay and Board of Directors member Mary Ellen Ternes have recently attended the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-3), in Nairobi, Kenya. ESES fully supports efforts by the United Nations delegates to reduce plastic production, especially single-use plastic. The themes of reduce, reuse, and simplify must play a central role in any path forward. That said, the stated goal of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee is to end plastic waste by 2040. That is simply too far in the future for communities that are literally buried in plastic waste right now.
In many communities around the world, there is simply no access to properly engineered, regulated, and maintained landfills to permanently sequester plastic waste. Even if the global community is successful in “turning off the tap” of plastic waste by 2040, the millions of tons of legacy plastic already in the environment must be dealt with. In developing communities around the world, the only option many people have to get plastic off their streets is open burning, which releases toxic smoke that is a threat to public health. Communities need solutions now – they simply cannot wait until 2040.
This is why ESES is committed to assisting communities in implementing small-scale plastic to fuel technology. Plastic to fuel permanently removes plastic from the environment and prevents its further breakdown into microplastic. Converting plastic waste into fuel oil may not be a perfect solution, but today, it is the only option that can be immediately deployed and operated in developing communities without access to modern waste management infrastructure. Furthermore, the fuel produced is clean burning, sulfur-free, and can be used as a substitute for diesel fuel in vehicles and generators, or as a substitute for kerosene in cookstoves and lamps. You can read more about what we do at www.eses-plastic.org and make a donation to support our non-profit mission.