Business, Plastic Pollution and the Circular Economy

by Diana Drake

When the Wharton Global Youth editorial team brainstorms ideas for the business journal articles that we write for high school students, we consider a few sources – emerging themes and issues in the business world, the latest research and analysis from the Wharton School community, and, of course, you. We listen to the voices of high school students in our networks, programs and courses to find out what sparks your curiosity, and then we try to deliver insight that will help you explore and understand those interests more deeply.

For this, our latest story at the intersection of business and the environment, you can thank Alex B., co-grand prize winner of our 2023 Comment & Win contest and a high school senior in Pennsylvania, U.S. In a comment in response to our Wharton Global Youth article The Role of Business in the ‘Biggest Issue We Face as a Planet,’ Alex wrote about his love for orcas igniting his passion to understand how warming ocean waters and plastic ocean pollution were severely affecting the ocean ecosystems and species survival. While he envisioned a day when environmental strategies for fighting climate change were “as basic as eating three meals a day,” he also expressed frustration that terms like ‘circular economy’ are not even in his classmates’ vocabularies. So, let’s break it down.

Masks, Owls and Closing the Loop

A good place to start with the circular economy is to consider one that is more linear – what experts like to call the take-make-waste economic model. Products are created and consumed, then thrown into landfills, where they pollute the land and air and contribute to global warming. Plastics are a significant part of this waste stream. According to the United Nations Foundation, more than 430 million tons of plastic are produced each year, two-thirds of which becomes waste after just one use (water bottles!). Some 11 million metric tons of plastics enter the world’s oceans each year.

A circular economy tries to minimize waste through recycling and reuse. Picture this: all manufactured products are automatically repurposed or reduced to their component parts and recycled for other uses. “The circular economy is about closing the loop on the cycle,” notes Eric Orts, a Wharton School professor of ethics and legal studies. “You create a cycle where at the end of the day you recycle and reuse the stuff you’re making. It’s recycling in a deep way. Once you use up your clothes, you send them back and they reuse the materials. You’re hurting the planet less by closing the loop on where you’re sourcing things. And you’re not using new things.”

Alex B’.s high school project illustrates the concept – and how he deepened his own understanding of sustainability and the circular economy. Through Smart Recycling Now, a nonprofit he started with other teens concerned about plastics pollution, Alex recycled plastic KN95 masks used during COVID to build houses for endangered owls. “We sent these masks to an outside supplier called Terracycle, who transformed them into bricks to create owl homes in California, where my friend lives,” says Alex. “Before this, I had no idea what the circular economy was. Having the ability to take a resource and recycle it and have a loop of what you can do with it opens up so many opportunities in the real world.”

Peter Wang Hjemdahl of rePurpose Global.

The grand vision for the circular economy is a world without waste, says Peter Wang Hjemdahl, co-founder of New York City-based rePurpose Global and a social entrepreneur who is on a plastic waste-minimization crusade – albeit on a much grander scale than Alex’s masks-to-owl-boxes.

Peter and his co-founders, Svanika Balasubramanian and Aditya Siroya, started rePurpose Global when they were undergrads at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating in 2018, they have grown rePurpose Global into a plastic-pollution powerhouse that is “rewriting the rules of the world’s waste problem.” As champions of a circular economy model, they are tackling plastic waste on all fronts. So far, the company claims to have recovered more than 47,400 pounds of nature-bound plastic.

Collectively Combating the Plastic-waste Crisis

Global Youth caught up with Peter Hjemdahl over Zoom to talk about the bigger issues. “Plastic waste is a multi-dimensional social and environmental problem. It has implications for climate change, biodiversity loss, negative impacts on human health, pollution and extreme poverty,” says Peter, who also served as the client for the 2022-2023 Wharton Global High School Investment Competition.  “I spent a big part of my childhood in China and my co-founders in India. The waste pickers came and collected from our households. There’s a big element of poverty when you’ve got waste workers who are exploited by and are dealing with the consequences of our consumption.”

In his research, Professor Orts concludes that every business has to have a climate imperative about its behavior – and it’s unlikely that companies will change without some force and a lot of effort.

rePurpose Global is on the front lines of this fight, says Peter. “We bring together brands, consumers, policymakers and innovators under one roof to collectively combat the plastic-waste crisis,” he notes.  “We help organizations and companies, particularly looking at consumer-packaged goods in industries such as food, beverage, health, beauty, cosmetics, personal care and household, to measure, reduce and take action on their plastic footprint. These are the companies that are producing and using the single-use plastics.”

“If we think that business is doomed, then we are doomed.” –Peter Wang Hjemdahl, rePurpose Global

The rePurpose business model (which Peter says has changed and evolved since he and his co-founders won Penn’s President’s Engagement Prize in 2018) is multifaceted, including: helping companies analyze and measure their plastic and waste footprint; reducing that footprint within their supply chain through solutions like accessing recycled materials for products; pioneering a system of plastic crediting, an environmental finance mechanism that attracts funding from companies that are contributing to the plastic-pollution crisis and deploys it into impact projects to recover plastic waste; and providing basic waste collection and management services to underserved households across the world. (Check out this Global Youth video interview for a glimpse of rePurpose in the early days).

It’s surprising, observes Peter, how many massive businesses don’t have “a grip” on their plastic use. However, while he appreciates activism, he doesn’t encourage demonizing the business world for its role in the crisis. “If we think that business is doomed, then we are doomed,” he says. “Business is part and parcel of our society today. Working with these businesses on the inside, I see a lot of momentum and motivation to transform business into a force for good…There are very cutthroat elements of business as well. It’s about finding that balance to answer to the business incentive, while also trying to change the business incentive.”

But there is still much work to be done. In his efforts to minimize the quantity of materials that are flowing in and out of the world – embracing that circular-economy mindset – Peter stresses the power of scientific thinking and knowledge. “Students need to apply an interdisciplinary approach to these problems. Sustainability, plastics and pollution are all complex topics. They touch everybody — individuals, governments, consumers, businesses and activists. It’s important to get educated and understand these issues that are so core to our future.”

Back at Haverford High School in Pennsylvania, Alex B. is doing his part, creating entertaining educational videos about the circular economy and climate change to amplify on social media. “Smart Recycling Now is an outlet to show other students that we can really make a change by reusing materials,” says Alex. “A lot of my classmates will acknowledge the fact that climate change is happening and that this issue is plaguing our generation; however, when it comes to action, they have little interest to try to make change. It’s going to take more education and persuasion.”

Conversation Starters

What is a circular economy and how do you embrace this concept? Share your story in the comment section of this article.

We hear about lots of student activists fighting against climate change — and yet, Alex B. is somewhat discouraged by his classmates’ inaction. Do you agree that high school students need greater awareness of the issues? Is that enough to inspire activism and real progress?

Peter Wang Hjemdahl calls plastic waste a “multi-dimensional social and environmental problem.” What does he mean by this? Why is it more than just a pollution crisis that is accelerating climate change?

8 comments on “Business, Plastic Pollution and the Circular Economy

  1. The circular economy is about taking action to minimize waste through recycling and reusing, or as Erick Orts said “closing the loop on the cycle”. Nowadays, what we have in our society is more like a linear economy in which products and produced, consumed, and then wasted. People don’t have the knowledge or accessible ways in which to recycle plastic products so they are thrown in the trash right away, contaminating our oceans, and rainforests, harming human health, and poverty as many plastic production facilities are located near marginalized communities, excluding them from decision-making and impacting their health, and waste workers who collect our plastic wastes and are exploited because of our excessive mindless consumption and waste of plastic. The goal of a circular economy is to reduce waste by reusing materials to make products and therefore reduce the impact of plastics on our environment, as Orts explained, by reusing materials we are closing the loop on where we are sourcing things, using recycled materials to create new products we are not using new things.
    Education and information are the first places in which to start, especially in developing countries. Personally, what I have seen in Colombia is that is ironic to see how sometimes we deal with plastic waste in our streets; however, people usually discriminate against those in our society who make a living out of picking the plastic, who often live in poor conditions and are not well connected to recycling companies, exactly like the Kabandha Wallahs that Svanika Balasubramanian talked about in her interview “An Ethical Recycling Supply Chain in India” by the Wharton Global Youth Program. So, it’s like “Hey, you don’t want plastic in our streets, but you judge the people doing the job that you don’t dare to?… that is ironic, but concerning”. This leads me to think that there really should be more awareness of the circular economy so that more business owners, students, and people, in general, inform themselves about this and find out ways in which they could take action. Speaking from a personal experience, when I became interested in learning about the impact of the textile industry on our environment and the working conditions of people in the industry, I began to donate my clothes to organizations for people in need or sell them online to give my clothes a second use and avoid product waste, as well buying second-hand clothes.

    Reading about Alex B.’s discouragement at his classmates’ inaction, makes me realize that it is very important for schools to implement education on circular economy in their curriculums and motivate high school students to learn about ways in which they can leave positive impacts in their society. Not only this but to also have programs and organizations that can engage our communities in active recycling and learning about how can we implement this practice in business models and companies, and even in our actions, as well as laws implemented by our governments that force us to include recycling in our everyday lives, and change our consumer habits. While I don’t believe that awareness is enough to inspire activism, I believe that persuasion, learning about the consequences of plastic in our environment and observing it first-hand, identifying problems in the system, having role models that inspire others, and having organizations that help households, companies, and businesses to change their ways of manufacturing to reduce waste, actually work and can drive people toward activist causes.

    As Peter Wang Hjemdahl said, plastic waste is a “multi-dimensional social and environmental problem”. Oftentimes we fail to consider its impact on our society and health. However, the greatest segment of people affected by plastic waste is waste pickers, especially those in developing countries, since there is not a structured system for recycling, waste pickers are often over-exploited, and are not well connected to recycling companies that can buy their collected plastic, this causes waste pickers to live in extreme poverty and aside from this, they are also exposed germs and bacteria and hazardous fumes at waste sites that can cause them to have health problems and respiratory illnesses.

    Putting it this way, RePurpose Global’s work is inspiring and encouraging to me, and seems to be leaving a great impact by connecting plastic collectors with sources from which they can effectively collect their plastics, and recycling companies that can buy their collected plastics, as well as helping businesses to reduce plastic waste and implement the concept of circular economy.

  2. Thank you, Diana Drake, for an illuminating article on the circular economy and its pivotal role in addressing climate change. Alex B.’s inspiring story highlights how young leaders are taking innovative steps to combat plastic pollution and promote sustainability.

    A circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. It contrasts with the traditional linear economy, which follows a ‘take-make-waste’ approach. By embracing the concept of the circular economy, we can significantly reduce environmental impact. For example, Alex’s initiative, Smart Recycling Now, is a fantastic demonstration of how materials like plastic KN95 masks can be repurposed into useful products like owl homes, thus closing the loop on waste.

    However, as Alex points out, awareness alone is not enough. While many high school students acknowledge the reality of climate change, translating that awareness into action requires more robust education and engagement. Creating platforms for students to learn about and participate in sustainability projects can foster a deeper commitment to environmental activism.

    Peter Wang Hjemdahl’s insight into plastic waste as a “multi-dimensional social and environmental problem” underscores the complexity of the issue. Plastic waste doesn’t just pollute our oceans and contribute to climate change; it also affects biodiversity, human health, and exacerbates poverty. For instance, waste pickers in developing countries often work in hazardous conditions without fair compensation, highlighting the socio-economic dimensions of the problem. This multi-faceted nature of plastic waste necessitates a comprehensive approach that involves all stakeholders, from businesses to consumers and policymakers.

    Peter’s perspective that business can be a force for good is crucial. Collaboration with businesses, as rePurpose Global demonstrates, is essential for scalable solutions. Businesses have the resources and influence to drive significant changes in supply chains, consumer behavior, and policy advocacy. By measuring and reducing their plastic footprint, companies can lead the way in creating a sustainable future.

    In conclusion, this article reinforces the importance of the circular economy and the role of innovative thinking in tackling environmental challenges. Alex B.’s and Peter Hjemdahl’s stories are testaments to the impact that passionate individuals and collaborative efforts can have. For high school students and future leaders, embracing sustainability and advocating for systemic change are critical steps towards a healthier planet.

  3. “Think global, act local” is an age old adage that fits perfectly with the gist of this article. Being raised in a society where everyone encourages you to be mindful of your consumption, it’s easy to assume that limiting the use of resources is the only way to be sustainable. Let’s be serious. We’ve got only a few decades at best until our resources get depleted and climate change ruins our livelihoods. So it only seems rational to restrict the use of our finite resources to secure our survival in the future, right? That’s what I thought until I read this article. The article illuminates a transformative approach to forge a sustainable future – one involving collective action in the circular economy through waste recycling. What better example of this than that of Alex B, whose innovative project turned discarded masks into creative habitats for endangered owls?

    The article effectively communicates how plastic waste fuels climate change, threatens biodiversity and perpetuates social inequalities – and illustrates how to tackle the issue through Peter’s collaborative action at rePurpose Global.

    Through rightfully portraying education as a crucial catalyst to engender advocacy and innovation amongst the youth, the article convinced me that integrating sustainability into curricula will cultivate a generation of informed changemakers.

    There are rarely any stories that are as compelling and captivating as that of Peter and Alex, stories that deeply inspire high schoolers such as me. Alex’s journey compels me to rethink my role in shaping a sustainable future. It has convinced me to consider founding a club to leverage collective action for waste recycling in my school. It has taught me that together, we can transform challenges into opportunities and build a world where sustainability is more a way of life than a mere concept. And who knows, maybe one day, our biggest challenge will be choosing between reusable shopping bags and trendy tote designs!

  4. Peter Wang Hjemdahl’s characterization of plastic waste as a “multi-dimensional social and environmental problem” underscores the complex and far-reaching impacts of plastic pollution. By describing it this way, Hjemdahl highlights that the issue extends beyond the obvious environmental damage and contributes to a range of interconnected social challenges.

    Plastic waste significantly contributes to environmental degradation. Plastics pollute land and waterways, harm marine life, and enter the food chain, impacting ecosystems and biodiversity. Additionally, the production and degradation of plastics release greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg in understanding the full scope of the problem.

    The article dives into how plastic waste also perpetuates economic and social inequalities. In many developing countries, waste management systems are inadequate, leading to an informal sector of waste pickers who often work under hazardous conditions for minimal pay. These workers are crucial in managing plastic waste but are typically marginalized and exploited. They face health risks from handling waste without proper protection and lack social security and labor rights.

    I didn’t realize until reading this article, the connection between plastic waste and poverty is profound. The informal waste sector, comprising millions of waste pickers worldwide, exists because of the lack of formal waste management infrastructure. These individuals rely on waste collection as their primary source of income, highlighting a direct link between plastic waste and poverty. Addressing plastic pollution, therefore, necessitates addressing the socio-economic conditions of these workers.

    I also found Peter Hjemdahl’s emphasis on the power of scientific thinking and the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability issues compelling. Educating future generations with this interdisciplinary mindset is crucial for developing innovative solutions that are both effective and equitable. It ensures that students and young professionals are equipped to tackle these challenges holistically, understanding the broader implications of their work on society and the environment.

  5. A critical issue the present and coming generations face is plastic pollution, and it is evidently exacerbated by the take-make-waste economic model discussed in this article. Millions of tons of plastic flow into landfills and oceans annually, leading to numerous health risks and environmental breakdown. Wharton Global Youth turns readers’ focus towards the urgent need for businesses to lead a shift to a circular economy, and the role consumers, amongst other stakeholders, play in this cause.

    “A good place to start with the circular economy is to consider one that is more linear – what experts like to call the take-make-waste economic model.” In other words, this is saying the linear economy model is unsustainable and heavily contributes to plastic pollution. This statement struck my mind. Previously, I had never thought about how our economic model can affect the severity of plastic pollution. I was limited to thinking of environmental problems as an entirely scientific topic. However, this quote shed light on the importance of systemic change in mitigating plastic pollution and introduced me to a new perspective on a worldly problem.

    “Closing the loop” stands at the core of the circular economy described in the article. The small and large initiatives by leaders like Alex B. and Peter Wang Hjemdahl explicate one way the loop can be closed – by recycling plastic waste for use in new products. As someone who dreams of being a scientific researcher, my current passion project is to investigate methods for dissolving nylon and other polymers with environmentally safe chemicals. Throughout the research process, I discovered that numerous potential solutions for plastic pollution have already been proposed in a myriad of STEM fields. These include biodegradable and compostable plastics, plastic-to-fuel technology, ocean cleanup technology, plastic-eating bacteria and enzymes, marine biodegradable polymers, and eco-friendly alternative materials.

    Let’s dig a little deeper into the potential solutions for pollution. One feature scientists are focusing on is changing the material for the production of plastic. In these days and ages, countless studies are being done for what material would be the most sustainable for the environment. One example of them would be the production of biodegradable plastic. Biodegradable plastic is surfacing out to the world, with its exceptional eco-friendliness, versatility, and the possibility of mass production talking up for its fame.

    One useful but unsung material is hemp bioplastic. Hemp bioplastics are made with extracted cellulose from hemp fibers and seeds. It is considered to be a great substitute for plastic for its biodegradability, easy production, durability, and low-carbon footprint. It is also one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth – a perfect fit for mass production. However, currently, companies are not using this material for several reasons. One is that hemp bioplastic is a relatively unfamiliar and new material, so it is not available in large quantities on the market. Second, making bioplastic from this material costs more than using traditional plastic. Thirdly, because it is more vulnerable to heat and moisture, there is a risk of damage to the product. I believe that companies can fully compensate for these shortcomings.

    I understand that overhauling the primary material of a product, which is the basis of the company’s revenue, is a massive undertaking with no guaranteed future, and it feels burdensome. It’s also understandable that it might feel even more daunting because changing just one company’s material won’t suddenly change the world remarkably. This is why I believe that all companies should come together for a worldwide ultimate project. Let’s change together. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the hemp bioplastic I’ve mentioned. It could be one of the other possible solutions, but let’s all change our primary materials together. If such a global initiative occurs, there’s no way the media wouldn’t focus on it.

    Now, let’s think from the perspective of citizens, the users of these media outlets. Plastic companies say they want to change their primary materials because they are concerned about the environment. From a customer’s perspective, would they oppose this? I don’t think so. As the dangers of microplastics are coming to light, people are becoming increasingly aware of these risks.

    With so many possible approaches to a circular economy, the excuses for turning a blind eye to waste management dwindle. What I want to do through this comment is to urge companies to consider these feasible, albeit challenging, solutions proposed by scientists and work collectively to clean up our home, the Earth. Not only the hemp bioplastic, but there are also a lot more different solutions that are being studied by researchers – for instance, pollen-based paper, and mushroom packaging – and a few of them are proved of their realism, and are waiting for scaling up.

    The battle against plastic pollution is not just an environmental necessity but a collective responsibility. Companies, with their substantial resources and influence, can lead the transition to a circular economy by investing in innovative solutions and collaborating with scientific research to secure a sustainable future.

    Nevertheless, a prevailing notion amongst entrepreneurs seems to be, “Why should we pour our company’s capital into unprofitable causes? Isn’t it an unnecessary burden for the company to take on?”. To address this dilemma, we need to consider business’s corporate social responsibility (CSR). People often take on unnecessary burdens willingly if it is for the greater good. Are you, as influential entities with substantial resources, attempting to avoid this responsibility? Furthermore, think about the future earning potential. Plastic pollution, as highlighted in the article, is a cycle. By investing in solutions now, I reckon there is a significant opportunity for long-term benefits and profits as part of a sustainable business model.

    From the company’s perspective, they might say, “If we start this material-changing campaign first, we’ll incur too much loss.” I have a few things to say about this. Firstly, the reality is that the usage of media platforms like Instagram and YouTube is alarmingly high these days. Use this to your advantage for company marketing. Speaking as a student addicted to these platforms, the advertising effect is more significant than you might think. Secondly, it’s okay to take a slight financial hit. You can start by changing the materials for half or even a quarter of your production. Isn’t the purpose of this project to stop environmental pollution? I believe it’s crucial for companies to at least take the first step. Any form of effort is necessary for it to eventually become a reality.

    Breaking the cycle of plastic waste requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society, especially businesses. The article is a reminder of the urgency of the situation and the significant impact businesses can have by adopting circular economy practices. With the right support and investment from companies, I firmly believe we can definitely make remarkable progress in addressing this global issue. Thanks for your article.

  6. The “circular economy” is what Eric Orts defines as “closing the loop on the circle”, in other words, an attempt to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by recycling and reusing products. It’s an idea that replaces the more linear “take-make-waste economic” model where a product is used and then thrown away. Peter Wang’s definition of an ideal circular economy is “a world without waste”. At first, reading this article, I thought back to my classes in my school. In every classroom there are whiteboards and boxes of dry erase Expo markers that end up getting tossed into the landfill. Doing some research, the reason why they aren’t recyclable is because they are too small and because the plastic is hard to recycle, leaving thousands of these markers destined to be thrown into landfills. ( This is the essence of the article’s definition of “take-make-waste” economy.
    However, being the devil’s advocate, the “circular economy” might not be the best solution to combating plastic waste. In fact, from my experience I believe that the “take-make-waste” model may not be as terrible as it is made out to be. What if instead of creating products that after their use ends up in landfills, we create products with the environment in mind? What if instead of creating products out of plastic, we create products out of compostable materials such as cardboard? Instead of creating dry erase markers out of plastic, we create it out of cardboard that would decompose in the earth after a few years compared to hundreds of years. Going along the “take-make-waste” economy we make products that are single use and are disposable, but instead of going to landfills, they go back into the dirt. We have seen this take shape around the world with Amazon’s transition to paper bags and my home state, British Columbia, Canada, regulating plastic bags and straws. Products that are hard to recycle so we make them disposable in an eco friendly way. In a way, the “take-make-waste” model might even be more healthy for the environment than reducing products “to their component parts and recycled to other uses”. By removing the machines that are required to process those materials.
    Overall, I align with RePurpose’s goal of reducing plastics from entering our environments by connecting companies with sources for both collecting recycled plastic and recycling plastic. There are many products that may not have a great compostable substitute like plastic water bottles, and many instances at my school where the “take-make-waste” economy was really terrible for the environment like my school’s use of plastic utensils leading to hundred of utensils being thrown away each day. In an ideal world, I believe that it’s not the how can we transform to a “circular economy” or how can we transition to a “take-make-waste” economy, it’s about how we can balance the two, creating a hybrid where we can take advantage of both sides to the fullest extent.

  7. I have to say I never thought that discarded masks could become homes for owls. What I know for sure, however, is that Alex’s concerns about plastic waste and lack of sustainability awareness both in businesses and in individuals couldn’t be more accurate.

    As a high school student in Brazil and the president of “Casulo”, the largest student-run environmental NGO in my state, I find Alex’s work with Smart Recycling Now and the transformation of KN95 masks into bricks for owl homes a brilliant example of how young people can drive change through innovative recycling projects. Similarly, at Casulo, we believe that by educating and engaging students in hands-on projects, we can foster a deeper understanding and commitment to sustainability and the circular economy.

    One of our major initiatives was banning plastic cups for over 2,000 students at our school, significantly reducing single-use plastic waste. Now, we encourage the use of reusable containers, fostering a culture of sustainability and circularity. Moreover, partnering with the national NGO “Tampatas,” we collected and recycled over 200kg of plastic, which was then recycled and we used the money to shelter and feed more than 80 street animals. This initiative, much like building homes for owls out of facial masks, highlights the interconnected benefits of a circular economy for a community.

    The importance of those actions couldn’t have been explained better than by Peter Wang Hjemdahl’s perspective on plastic waste being a “multi-dimensional social and environmental problem”. In Brazil, we see firsthand how plastic waste impacts not just the environment but also communities, contributing to issues like pollution, health hazards, and poverty.

    Alex also highlights the need for greater awareness and education among high school students. In my experience, while many students acknowledge the importance of addressing climate change, there is often a gap between awareness and action. This is why Casulo also manages 12 dedicated writing volunteers for our blog. Casulo’s blog reaches over 500 readers and educates them on topics related to sustainability and circular economy practices. Through it, we also emphasize the importance of recycling and reusing materials, sharing success stories from our projects to inspire other students and communities to take action.

    If anyone is interested in learning more about us, here is the link to our Instagram account: And here is the link to our blog: Texts will be in Portuguese though hahaha.

  8. Peter’s statement “If we think that business is doomed, then we are doomed” presents an intriguing perspective on the corporate role in plastic pollution. I wholeheartedly agree with his point about working together with companies to tackle the issue of plastic waste, as there are so many factors to unpack. As Peter puts it, it can be easy to “demonize the business world for its role in the crisis” but the most effective solutions are born from nuance. By working towards change from within companies as Peter suggests, we can improve communication and cooperation between public and corporate sectors of society. An experience I had that gives me hope about our efforts occurred when I was volunteering to clean up my neighborhood. We were picking the trash that we found and made our way to some large company buildings. Eventually, some of the company workers came out and began working alongside us. But what was most important was their willingness to learn – they told us about how they were striving to be more mindful of their habits and wanted to adjust their business practices to achieve an optimal balance of efficiency and environmental awareness. By finding an intersection that promotes economic health while preserving our planet, we can work towards a cleaner future.

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