In Depth The long-term solution to the plastics problem is stopping the flow at its source. But even if we were to magically achieve that today, the world would still be awash in nearly a century’s worth of plastic waste that has been accumulating in landfills and landscapes across the globe. On Jan. 1, 2021, an agreement among 187 countries took effect to limit international trade in plastic scrap for “recycling” to prevent it from ending up in the environment. (The United States did not sign on.) Still, our plastic waste isn’t going away on its own. Cleaning it up is an urgent part of the solution. Communities around the world are turning plastic waste into the raw materials to build local infrastructure, create employment, and change the systems that have trapped them under the weight of the world’s plastic waste for far too long. —Breanna Draxler Photo by Madalitso Wills Kateta. Women Turn Waste Problem Into Jobs By Madalitso Wills Kateta Every morning, well before sunrise, Rose Muhondo leaves her house at Kawale Township in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe for her daily garbage collection excursion. By the time the sun crests the horizon, Muhondo has already sorted two heaps […]


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