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Plastic Soup Foundation | Harmen Spek | TEDxSittardGeleen

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Harmen’s commercial background is in media and design, where he developed a major passion for materials and manufacturing. Many products are currently based on a ‘short lifecycle’, where plastic as the cheapest material is maintained as the principal element of the success formula.
Harmen’s drive is to change this short cycle thinking, and change it into a model in which plastic is held in reserve as a high quality technical material and certainly not for single use products. A transition to alternative materials is key here. He is also on a worldwide search for the best technical solutions for the environmental problems that plastics create.

We need common sense to manage our use of plastics. In daily life, we all use them in increasing amounts and see the effects of it in our environment also increasing. The worldwide production of plastics has grown since the 1950’s to an incredible 311 million tons in 2015. Plastic waste is permanent and very complex to handle. For many years, plastic waste was exported to China for recycling purposes. On a global scale, that only resulted in 9% recycling. There are over 5000 types of plastics. And although technically they are all recyclable, economically and practically they are all different, with their own specifications. In practice, 95% now sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
How did plastics conquer the worldwide market and how deep are plastics embedded in society? More importantly: which criteria guide our choices in the use of materials and what are the environmental and health effects in the long run? Harmen’s commercial background is in media and design, where he developed a major passion for materials and manufacturing. Many products are currently based on a ‘short lifecycle’, where plastic as the cheapest material is maintained as the principal element of the success formula.
Harmen’s drive is to change this short cycle thinking to a model in which plastic is held in reserve as a high quality technical material and certainly not for single use products. A transition to alternative materials is key here. He is also on a worldwide search for the best technical solutions for the environmental problems that plastics create. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

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