Mystic Reilly... Our predictions for 2023 & beyond on the issues we see and on what's required to clean up Sustainability!

1) The Rise & Great Fall of Plastic Recycling

What many still do not realise is that the majority of plastics are not recycled properly world-wide. Plastic is not infinitely recycleable (unlike aluminium), therefore it tends to get down-cycled, which leads to huge issues in terms of wasted resources, micro-plastics, the environment and our health.

I predict some bad news for the recycled-plastics fashion industry in the coming years as a 'false solution'... Plastic bottles need to be turned back into plastic bottles, not clothes...

2) Greenwashing, the Clampdown

A huge clampdown is required across a variety of issues. We need to realise words mean nothing, unless actions follow. e.g. just because something is 'compostable' doesn't mean it's beneficial, unless it actually gets composted...

Brands are pulling the wool over our eyes and using sustainability as a tool to solely push consumerism, which needs to be watched - just because terms like 'eco-friendly' or 'sustainable' are used, does not mean they are true... I expect watchdogs to start barking and fines to start flowing!

3) Zero emissions, or Zero tailpipe emissions

I expect more scrutiny across the EV Market in 2023 due to the supply chain associated with the batteries. When more realise the impact of mining for the minerals and materials required e.g. the Congo... eye's will open.

Marketing is key here once again none-the-less, with more emissions being produced in the manufacturing phase of EVs than

normal combustion engines - they should be referred to as 'zero tailpipe emissions' rather than zero emissions as a whole.

4) The offset fallacy & the Catholic Church selling indulgences

Carbon offsets will face a hell of a lot of public scrutiny. They sound great - and can be useful to an extent - but unfortunately have been commoditised and taken advantage of for profit.

Offsets are like me going to my local priest -asking for forgiveness via 7 Hail Mary's and a donation, to then repeat the same sin over and over again or by me going to the gym twice in one day, and selling one of my workouts to my lazy friend who did not go - good for nobody....

5) Food Footprints - how emissions adds up with what we eat

I expect that similar to being able to see where our clothes are made, and the materials used to produce them - will inevitably across over into our food-chain. This will give consumers insights into the difference between choosing locally produced products vs products from abroad.

 From an educational point of view, I think this could be great to help people learn about emissions & supply chains!

6) Renewables & false claims...

I expect the Penny to drop in terms of renewable energy providers pulling the wool over our eyes with complex data, misleading claims & the misuse of carbon credits / 'GO' schemes.

There is a difference between energy generated and energy consumed & while renewables can be great, let's not give them a bad start with false claims by pretending consumers in Ireland are legitimately fuelled 100% by renewables - more to come on this.

What do you think?

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Written by Cathal O Reilly

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