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This story is part of Fix’s Climate-Fiction Issue, which explores how fiction can create a better reality. Check out the full issue here, including the short stories in Fix’s first-ever climate-fiction contest, Imagine 2200.

Plastic. It’s everywhere — swirling in a huge gyre in the Pacific Ocean, choking birds, stabbing turtles in the nose, and clogging drains in our cities. The World Economic Forum says there could be more of this ubiquitous material than fish in the ocean by 2050. And plastic, by design, essentially lasts forever, breaking down into ever-smaller particles that make their way into just about everything, including our drinking water.

It also doesn’t recycle well. The soda bottle you just tossed into the blue bin probably won’t become another soda bottle. Plastic typically gets “downcycled” into composite products like faux wood or carpeting. Less than 10 percent gets recycled, in part because virgin plastics are cheaper than the post-consumer stuff. The vast majority ends up in landfills — or worse, it makes its way out of the waste stream to clutter the world. 

Ridding our environm... Read more

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