Recycling and reuse alone will not solve the problem of increased plastic production. Reducing and replacing plastics requires a broader approach. Fortunately, alternatives to plastic are emerging with great environmental and commercial potential.
Over the last few years, sorting plastics for recycling has become a routine task for many individuals and organizations that want to make a difference to the environment. This is clearly a good trend. But few people know what happens to the plastic when the garbage truck speeds up.
This article explores the issues and opportunities of plastic recycling and the tools that can be used to address the global plastic problem.
Recycling cannot keep pace with increased plastic production
Plastic production is expected to at least triple by 2050. The amount of microplastics released into nature is about to increase significantly as the existing recycling infrastructure cannot meet current production levels. There is a need to expand and diversify global recycling capacity, but there are some issues that recycling is not the only solution to the growth of plastic production.
Mechanical recycling is currently the only recycling option for plastics. Recovering plastics for reuse is important, but mechanical recycling has its limits.
* Not all plastics collected from households can be recycled through mechanical recycling. This causes the plastic to burn for energy. * Many types of plastic cannot be recycled due to their small size. Even if these materials can be separately recycled, it is often not economically viable. * Plastics are becoming more complex and multi-layered, making it difficult for mechanical recycling to separate and reuse the various parts. * In mechanical recycling, the chemical polymer remains unchanged and the quality of the plastic gradually deteriorates. The same piece of plastic can only be recycled a few times before the quality is not good enough to reuse. * Inexpensive fossil-based virgin plastic costs less to produce than collecting, cleaning and processing. This reduces market opportunities for recycled plastics. * Some policy makers rely on exporting plastic waste to low-income countries rather than building adequate recycling infrastructure.
The current dominance of mechanical recycling is slowing the development of chemical recycling processes and the necessary infrastructure. Technological solutions for chemical recycling already exist, but are not yet considered an official recycling option. However, chemical recycling has great potential.
Chemical recycling allows us to modify the polymers of recovered plastics to improve existing ones. This process is called an upgrade. In the future, the transformation of carbon-rich polymers into desirable materials opens up possibilities for both conventional plastics and new bio-based materials.
All forms of recycling should not rely on mechanical recycling, but should play a role in creating a well-functioning recycling infrastructure.
Plastic recycling does not address microplastics released during use
In addition to lifespan issues, microplastics pose problems throughout their life cycle. For example, car tires and synthetic fabrics release microplastics each time they are used. In this way, microplastics can find their way into the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the soil we cultivate. Addressing end-of-life issues through recycling is not enough.
These mechanical, technical, financial and political issues related to recycling are hitting the global need to reduce microplastic pollution in nature. In 2016, 14% of the world’s plastic waste was fully recycled. About 40% of the plastic collected for reuse is ultimately incinerated. Clearly, other ways to complement recycling should be considered.
A comprehensive toolbox for a healthier future
Fighting plastic waste requires a broader approach, with recycling playing a key role. Until now, the traditional formula for a better future has been “reduce, recycle, reuse”. I don’t think that’s enough. We need to add a new element: replace. Let’s look at the four R’s and their roles.
discount: Global policy measures to reduce the use of fossil plastics are critical as plastic production soars.
Reuse: From individuals to countries, the recycling of plastic is possible. Individuals can easily reuse plastic containers. For example, you can freeze food or fill an empty soda bottle with fresh water. On a large scale, cities and countries can reuse plastic bottles, for example, multiple times before reaching the end of their life.
recycling: Most plastics are not easily reusable. A versatile recycling infrastructure that can efficiently process complex plastics would greatly reduce the growing problem of microplastics.
Substitution: Plastics have functions that are indispensable in our modern lives. But if we want to keep the planet healthy, we have to find more sustainable alternatives to fossil plastics.
Plastic alternatives show great environmental and commercial potential
As policy makers increasingly focus on sustainability and carbon footprint, there are multiple ways individuals and businesses can make a difference. Environmentally friendly plastic alternatives are no longer expensive alternatives, but a key business advantage to attract customers.
Topfeelpack’s design philosophy is eco-friendly, eco-friendly and healthy. We want you to never have to worry about sacrificing packaging or product quality for the environment. When you use Topfeelpack, we promise:
aesthetics: The Topfeelpack stands out with its sophisticated look and feel. Unique designs and materials allow consumers to feel that Top Feel Pack is no ordinary cosmetic packaging company.
function: Topfeelpack is of high quality and can be mass produced on existing plastics machinery. It meets strict technical requirements and is suitable for various applications, such as skin care products with different ingredients.
sustainability: Topfeelpack is committed to producing sustainable cosmetic packaging that reduces the source of plastic pollution.
It’s time to switch from environmentally harmful types of plastic to sustainable alternatives. Are you ready to replace pollution with a solution?
Article Source: https://www.topfeelpack.com/news/plastic-recycling-is-broken-new-plastic-alternatives-are-key-to-the-fight-against-microplastics/
company name: Top Feel Pack Co., Ltd.
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