Since the emergence of plastics in the early 1900s the popularity of plastics has grown exponentially. With this boom in the production and distribution of plastics, several countries have implemented regulations on plastics substances to restrict the negative side effects of the material. Plastics originated as a cost effective and attractive solution to packaging various products around the world. Since their inception the popularity of plastics has rocketed year after year with more and more companies embracing the ease of selecting plastics to showcase their products.
Plastic is a durable, inexpensive, malleable and waterproof material which makes it so appealing to work with. However in 1950 only 2 million metric tons of plastic were produced whereas in 2015 the global production of plastics topped 322 million. Despite the advantages of plastics, plastics also have significant disadvantages. Products like food, beverage and tobacco packaging are usually single use and non-recyclable.
The European Commission reports that currently up to 80% of global marine litter is plastics. In response to the irrefutable evidence European Parliament has implemented a new EU-wide ban on the 10 single-use plastic items regularly found on European soil. This includes abandoned fishing gear which makes up 70% of marine litter.
The European Commission states that substituting single-use plastic products with inventive and valuable alternatives is an economic opportunity. They go on to estimate that in replacing single use plastics the EU could create 30,000 local jobs, which in turn would boost the EU’s bio-economy and generate groundbreaking businesses and re-use schemes.