How will we deal with all of the world’s rubbish?

Despite our best environmental efforts, the world still overflows with more non-biodegradable trash than ever. We review four clever ideas for dealing with it all.

Animation by George Mason

Rubbish has been a problem for as long as modern civilisation has existed. Humans produce a lot of garbage, which is bad for the environment and takes up precious space. And despite our best efforts to combat the problem over the last several decades – reducing, reusing, and recycling – there’s still a long way to go.

Grand Ideas

The 21st Century is continually throwing us new challenges and expecting us to adapt – but for every Earth-shattering megatrend, there are dozens of genius solutions. Follow them all in BBC Future's special series, Grand Ideas.

In fact, the 21st Century has presented worrisome trash challenges, like the fact that there’s now 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic in the world – that’s enough to bury the island of Manhattan under two miles of non-biodegradable trash.

Throw in extra factors like overpopulation and climate change, and we have a big, messy problem on our hands.

Luckily, there are some solutions – grand ideas that are being rolled out, right now, all over the world. Watch the video above to discover four of them.