Plastics can be 100 percent recycled. Establishing proper post-consumer management and processing would not turn plastic into a poisonous waste for the environment.
Fremont, CA: Plastic is a unique synthetic material. It is a natural byproduct of petroleum production. Plastic can be utilized as a more efficient replacement for other materials because it is durable, strong, and lightweight. The features of plastic can be customized with additives and synthesis. However, plastic production utilizes very few resources and results in less environmental impact compared to other materials in the same quantity. Thus, plastic has become the prevalent low-cost material in various industries and a part of our daily lives.
The prime concern with plastic is that it would inevitably become a waste crisis without proper management, putting human lives, animals, and environment into jeopardy. The solution to this problem calls for proper land waste management that includes waste sorting and disposal, along with the development of plastic technology that is environmentally conscious of the production process.
Let us look at the important trends in plastic innovation:
Plastics can be 100 percent recycled. Establishing proper post-consumer management and processing would not turn plastic into a poisonous waste for the environment. Nevertheless, in order to meet the needs of consumers, the industry has made plastic packaging by synthesizing and blending plastic with non-plastic materials. This has led to packaging that cannot be recycled, such as multi-layer film packaging that contains aluminum. Thus, at K2019, multiple companies, including Dow, Sabic, Borealis, and SCG, introduced solutions to replace multi-layer packaging, particularly mono-material packaging that is developed out of a single material so that it can be recycled. Another solution devised is improving the recyclability of plastics while preserving their properties.
Bioplastics and Alternative Materials
Developed for improved degradability, bioplastics are synthesized from a variety of raw materials, including sugar cane, corn, and tapioca flour. Since traditional plastic is a byproduct of petroleum, a non-renewable resource, innovations have been made to promote renewable feedstock in plastic production, such as bio-based feedstock and synthesizing carbon dioxide into a polymer.
Reducing Production Resources
Plastics are prevalent in specialized industries, such as in lightweight and energy-efficient automotive parts, various medical equipment, and durable and corrosion-resistant construction materials. The current motto of plastic development to meet specialized industries' requirements is directed at increasing efficiency while decreasing resources during production.