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decisions about product and packaging design and regulation far upstream. The end-of-life plan for plastic affects the entire value chain. A recent document produced by the Ocean Conservancy (2015) titled “Stem- ming theTide,”with strong industry support, called for a $5billion investment in waste management, with large-scale waste-to-energy incinerator plants targeting SEAsia, specificallyChina,Taiwan,Philippines, Indonesia,andVietnam,basedon astudyreporting4–12milliontonsofwasteentering theoceansannually,primarily from that region . Itwas released1weekprior to theOctober2015OurOcean Conference.Within days, the organization Global Alliance for Incinerator Alter- natives (GAIA) submitted a letter in response with 218 signatories, mostly envi- ronmental and social justice NGOs, arguing that incinerators historically exceed regulatorystandardsforemissionsandsubsequentlycauseharmtotheenvironment and human health and that the financial cost to build infrastructure,maintenance, and management are typically underestimated . In many cases, the financial structure includes long-termwaste quotas that lock communities intomandatory waste generation . For example, the $150million cost to build the H-Power Fig.2 Circulareconomymodelforplasticproductsandpackaging.Ahighpercentageofrecycled content is required as feedstock for new products, and the remainder from sustainable sources (potentiallybiopolymers). Poorpractices (redarrows) throughout the life cycle aremitigated, for example, by proper legislative policy, public awareness that leads to proper consumer waste handling, and incentivized recovery systems (e.g., returnable bottles). Recovery is further improved by regulating end-of-life design in products and packaging. This leads to reduced leakage of plastic to the environment from all sectors of society, and significant improvements are social justice concerns for communities that manage waste. The small amount of residual plastic is thendisposedof responsibly Microplastic:WhatAre theSolutions? 283
Freshwater Microplastics Emerging Environmental Contaminants?