COVID's Environmental Cost: 25,000 Tons of Trash

Written By Alex Koyfman

Posted November 11, 2021

Dear Reader,

Last year, a study commissioned by OceansAsia determined that more than 1.5 million face masks entered the world’s oceans in the year 2020 — a single but substantial prong of the total mass of plastic waste generated by the global campaign to stop COVID.

In all, the study determined that more than 25,000 tons of single-use plastic waste was generated by the suddenly omnipresent COVID response market.


The point of origin for most of this predominantly plastic refuse is hospitals, which defer to single-use products almost exclusively.

Of that waste, about one-third is expected to wind up in the ocean and, ultimately, on the seabed, where it will gradually disincorporate and enter the food chain.

Now, believe me, I know that the last thing you want to hear about right now is yet another problem caused by the COVID crisis.

As if supply chain interruptions and stimulus-fueled inflation weren’t enough, we now have an ecological crisis on our hands thanks to the 21st century’s first true pandemic.

This ecological crisis, however, underscores a much bigger problem: our unshakable addiction to single-use plastic products.

Plastic: The Heroin of Modern Commerce

That 25,000-ton figure may sound dramatic to you, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket compared with the estimated grand total of plastic we discard on an annual basis: 300 million tons. 

And about 60% of it goes either into landfills or into the ocean — humanity’s two preferred method of sweeping a problem under the rug on a planetary scale.

Less than 10% of that 300 million tons is recycled, and of that which is recycled, about 90% winds up either in the ground or in the water in its next usage cycle.

And that’s only part of the story.

Plastic doesn’t just consume energy and produce toxic byproducts at every stage of production. It’s also highly taxing on another finite resource: oil.

As it stands, about 10% of our oil supply is consumed by the plastics industry, with that figure rising every year.

Put all the facts and figures together and you quickly come to one conclusion: Our dependence on plastic is not sustainable.

The only possible answer, short of changing the way we live to no longer rely on single-use products, is to come up with a plastic alternative that neither pollutes during production nor is taxing on the environment to recycle.

Plastic 2.0?

Such an alternative will need to be able to sit on a shelf and remain airtight for years if need be, and at the same time decompose rapidly and completely, without any energy invested, in a natural setting.

It sounds like a wonder product, but it’s no longer the stuff of fantasy.

Right now, a small Canadian materials technology company is entering the market with a truly compostable plastic alternative.

Its pilot product: A Keurig-compatible single-use coffee pod.

Why not a plastic soda bottle or a straw, you might ask?

First of all, the coffee pod is one of the newest and fastest-expanding segments in the single-use container market. Two decades ago the coffee pod was little more than a novelty product. Today we use 50 billion per year.

To work, the pods need to withstand near boiling temperatures and espresso-level internal pressures. To be effectively compostable, the discarded pod needs to be able to disincorporate in about two months — roughly the speed of a discarded apple core.

This new material fits the bill on both counts.

Once the proof-of-concept stage is finished in the commercial market, the world of single-use plastics will be open.

The company behind this thing spent years and millions of dollars developing this product, and for most of that time, it was doing it completely under the radar.

A 21st-Century DuPont in the Making?

Right now, however, we could be at an inflection point.

You see, this company’s stock is already trading on the public market at a market capitalization of less than $100 million… but the market it will disrupt in the next several years is worth hundreds of billions.

Licensing alone could bring in billions in revenue in short order.

Investors are starting to realize this inefficiency, so share prices have jumped almost 50% in the last few weeks.

It’s still just the beginning, but this train is gaining momentum and I don’t think this will stay a secret much longer.

There’s too much to say about this company right here, right now, so I went ahead and put together a video presentation to answer all the questions.

It’s free, there’s no registration required, and you don’t even have to enter your email address.

Enter here for immediate access.

Fortune favors the bold,

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Alex Koyfman

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His flagship service, Microcap Insider, provides market-beating insights into some of the fastest moving, highest profit-potential companies available for public trading on the U.S. and Canadian exchanges. With more than 5 years of track record to back it up, Microcap Insider is the choice for the growth-minded investor. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Energy and Capital. To learn more about Alex, click here.

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