According to a recent poll published in The Times, 46% of the public considers “lack of incentive to recycle” to be one of the most serious problems with plastic packaging. The question for us is whether plastic packaging is truly the problem – if it is suitable for its purpose – and if, as a nation, we should be advocating for a nationally coordinated recycling strategy with clear labelling so that we can all recycle more responsibly.
However, there are far too many instances where people unnecessarily use plastic. We encourage our clients to “use less when it comes to packaging.” We’re good at coming up with new ways to substitute plastic with cardboard, but if we can also cut down on waste, that would be even better.
“The challenges posed by plastics are mainly due to the fact that production and consumption systems are not sustainable. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have amplified public attention to the plastic waste crisis we face.”Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director
According to the EEA report ‘Plastics, the circular economy and Europe′s environment — A priority for action‘, plastics have many other and lesser-known impacts, including its contribution to climate change and newer challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The research examines plastics production, consumption, trade, and the environmental and climate effect of plastics throughout their life cycle. It considers three options for governments, industry, and consumers to move toward a circular plastics economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have brought the plastic waste dilemma to the forefront of public consciousness. The most obvious solution is to transition to a truly sustainable and circular plastics economy. We can use plastics considerably more intelligently and reuse and recycle them more effectively.
Plastics contribute to climate change
Plastic usage and manufacture require enormous amounts of fossil fuels, which has detrimental consequences for the environment and climate change. If current plastic production and usage trends continue, the plastics sector will account for 20% of world oil use by 2050, up from 7% now.
According to EEA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory data, yearly emissions connected to plastic manufacturers in the EU total roughly 13.4 million tonnes of CO2, or nearly 20% of the chemicals industry’s emissions across the EU. The European and worldwide plastics recycling markets are now facing substantial economic challenges.
Synthetic fabrics are becoming increasingly problematic
Textiles composed of synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon contribute to the plastics problem. According to a second EEA briefing which looks at plastics in textiles, EU consumers dispose roughly of 5.8 million tonnes of textiles per year – about 11 kg per person – with synthetic fibres accounting for about two-thirds of the total. According to 2017 estimates, European homes consumed around 13 million tonnes of textile items (clothing, footwear and household textiles). Plastic-based textiles account for over 60% of apparel and 70% of domestic textiles.
The research shows a need for the nation to collectively make a conscious effort to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. Tams Packaging are a Cardboard Box Manufacturing company, contact us today to discuss your requirements.