Solving the plastic waste problem
Microplastics - an emerging challenge for the planet and humans
Our oceans are filling up with plastic that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces of microplastics, eventually ending up in our bodies.
If we zoom in the microscopic level of the plastic waste problem, we notice that it gets even worse. There is no efficient way to clean microplastics that just keep accumulating. These tiny particles are already in the oceans, among pollen carried by bees, and our lungs. Currently, we ingest 5 grams of plastic a week, the equivalent of a credit card. There are already various studies that have linked microplastics to human autoimmune diseases and cancer, not to mention the effects on the early stages of the food chain. The damage on biodiversity is evident.
Plastics are now the growth driver for the petrochemical industry, contributing to the overall rise of oil consumption.
4x times more plastic – more burden for environment
About 460 million tonnes of plastic is being produced every year which all too often ends up in the wrong place. And once plastic has ended up in nature it remains there forever – accumulating and having an impact on every ecosystem. The oil-based plastic production is estimated to grow four times bigger during the next 30 years, this significantly affects the CO2 burden of our planet, which will have hazardous effect on the biodiversity.
Plastic waste – we can’t recycle our way out of this
Replacing conventional plastics with safer material innovations should be priority.
Reducing, reusing and recycling are still key methods for circularity and saving the natural resources. But why the oil-based plastic production is still increasing although the utilization of recycled plastics is favored? This is because plastics can be mechanically recycled only once and virgin plastic is always needed with the new products. So what happens then to the plastic waste?
Unfortunately, most of it ends up in the nature or it is burned. Even in the most optimistic scenarios only 37% of plastic packaging will be recycled by 2050. Luckily there are new material options available that may also utilize recycled content.