Plastics have become the ubiquitous workhorse of the modern economy. They combine unrivalled functionality with low price. In the past half century, their use has increased twenty-fold and is estimated to double again in the next 20 years.*
Today, almost everyone, everywhere, every day, comes in contact with plastics – from plastic bottles and containers to labels and plastic packaging. Despite the numerous benefits, the current plastics economy has certain inherent drawbacks that are becoming more apparent gradually.
About 95% of plastic packaging material value alone is lost to the economy after a short first-use cycle. Another one-third of plastic packaging escapes collection systems, spawning significant economic costs by clogging our oceans and slowing urban infrastructure.
Then there is also the cost associated with greenhouse gas emissions from its production, which, when combined with the above, exceeds the plastic packaging industry’s profit margin.
But in overcoming these obstacles, lies an opportunity: by enhancing investment in improving the effectiveness of the system, we can achieve better environmental and economic outcomes while successfully harnessing the many benefits of plastic packaging.