Ailanit Davydova is a senior at Hunter College double majoring in Environmental Policy and Management as well as Creative Writing. She has served on the elected board of the Sustainability Project at Hunter since 2012 as treasurer and currently as president. She was also the project leader of Waste Management Day and Energy Day of Hunter Goes Green 2014. She holds an active interest in educating the public on sustainable practices, specifically in regards to energy consumption and waste management. She has interned with the Council for the Environment and Jewish life and is currently interning at the EPA’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety for the fall 2014 term.
In recent centuries, the advent of plastics as a viable material with which industrial society has expanded through because of its applicability in use and efficiency of production. The materials economy of plastic has changed dramatically since its mass implementation to society in the mid 20th century. An understanding and review of dioxins in the environment shows the burden of plastic waste management on the international community. Different methods of solving this issue, vary from setting levels of dioxin in food in European countries, to life cycle assessment of plastic, which is the material that is a major portion of incineration. The assessments allow for strategic change in design from cradle to grave to cradle to grave and a more strict application of the waste hierarchy in waste management. From recycling plastic to the use of bioplastics, the eradication of dioxins is closer when these processes are in the forefront. It is crucial to not undermine the effects of dioxin despite its seemingly small concentration in the environment, it is one of the most potent and persistent organic pollutants known to man.
Key words: plastic, dioxin, life cycle assessment, waste management