The Plastic Run - The USA

  • Location: The United States of America
  • Total Distance: 5000km
  • Distance to Date: 0km
  • donation goal: 1 000 000 USD
  • donations to date: 0
  • start date: Jun 1, 2020


profile pic of Thommo Hart profile pic of Simphiwe Fiddy Ngcobo


A plastic free world where waste is not seen as an unwanted leftover but a resource of value that is diverted away from landfills and mined at source to provide economic opportunities for innovative waste entrepreneurs in the USA and Africa.



• Run 5000 km barefoot across the United States of America in 120 days • Advocate for a plastic free world • Pressure large FMCG companies to support the banning of single use plastics • Raise social impact investments to support and finance innovative American and African SMMEs turning the tide against plastics entering our oceans through innovative business models and technologies.


The Plastic Run – USA is an endurance expedition along the width of the United States of America that Thommo Hart will run barefoot in activism against single use plastics. The endurance expedition will attempt to break the world record for the longest continuous journey barefoot by a human by running 5000 km across the United States of America in 120 days. During the period of the expedition, the aim is to raise social impact investments that will support American and African SMMEs turning the tide against plastics entering our oceans through innovative business models and technologies.

US plastic waste is causing global crisis. The U.S., which is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of plastic, is also the No. 1 exporter of plastic scrap. A volume of 157,000 large 20-ft shipping containers of plastic waste were shipped from the USA in 2018 to countries that are now known to be overwhelmed with plastic waste and major sources of plastic pollution to our oceans. And this volume of plastic waste does not seem be slowing down. The availability of cheap shale gas in the United States is fueling a massive wave of new investments in plastics infrastructure in the U.S. and abroad, with $164 billion planned for 264 new facilities or expansion projects in the U.S. alone. If this investment is spent in the way that it’s intended, virgin plastic production is slated to increase by 33%-36% in the U.S. by 2025. As plastic production increases, so does its presence in every single life form in the food chain, making its way to the human body and the most isolated parts of the world. In one study, 95% of all adults tested in the US had known carcinogenic chemical bisphenol A, a by-product of plastics, in their urine. Plastic waste in the USA has got so bad that it is piling up at an alarming speed and no one knows where to put it. As a result, some states, municipalities and waste collection agencies are so overrun that they have stopped curbside collection, sorting through plastic and paper altogether, and are sending it all to the landfill instead or to be burnt or overseas

The United States currently only has 633 materials recycling facilities, which can clean, sort and bale a total of 100,000 tons of recyclables per day. But since sorting is such a labor-intensive exercise, it usually doesn’t make economic sense for many recyclers in the US and other developed countries to recycle their plastic waste, so they export it to South East Asia. For years, the US offloaded nearly 4,000 shipping containers full of recyclables on China's shoulders every day. But China closed it borders to foreign waste in 2018 and now most of this plastic waste is landing in South East Asian countries who don't have the infrastructure to manage and process the waste, so most of it is finding its way down rivers and into the Pacific Ocean where it gathers at the Great Plastic Garbage Patch. South East Asia is literally turning from crystal blue beaches and islands into toxic dumpsites. By 2030, it is estimated that 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will find itself in these countries unable to process the waste and thus finding its way into our oceans. Consumers, especially those in the West, have been sold a myth. Many believe that when they separate their recyclables and throw them out, that it’ll be properly taken care of. But that is not the truth.

However, the plastic waste crisis is an opportunity for consumers and citizens in the USA to get serious about recycling at home. There are a lots opportunities to invent, develop and scale alternatives to plastic that are not harmful to the environment and us as human beings. There are also opportunities to invest in infrastructure for process recycling of plastic on a scale like China and for inventing technologies that can dispose or degrade plastic waste in a clean, environmentally friendly and quick manner. History has shown us that collective action and partnerships between industry, governments and NGOs can deliver innovative solutions to a global challenge like this, thus now is the time to act together. We believe the time for action is now and through this expedition across the heart of America we can inspire the consumer and big industries to invest in innovative people and businesses in USA and the South Africa trying to create alternative solutions to the crisis.

Through this expedition, we will highlight and market innovative business at the forefront of finding alternative solutions to plastics and the disposing as plastic waste in the USA and South Africa and will collaborate with industrial players and international activists in pulling resources to invest into a world free of plastic waste.

For interested industrial parties, corporations, businesses, charities, green economic development agencies and American citizens interested to being part of the expedition, finding solutions to the plastic waste crisis and investing into a world free of plastic waste, please go to the Get Involved page and fill out the form or email us at info@expeditionists.org



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