The use of plastics is widely engrained in our everyday lives and provides us with immense convenience. They are used in our toothbrushes, single use Keurig pods, plastic wraps for food and its containers, bottles for water and laundry detergent, encasing our laptops and monitors, and countless other uses. Global plastic production and consumption continues to increase, and COVID-19’s impact on hygiene, via single-use items and packaging for delivered goods, has accelerated that trend. However, we have all seen the images of plastic waste floating in the oceans and discarded bottles scattered along the roadside.
In 2020, approximately 400 million tonnes of plastics were produced globally, and that figure is projected to reach over 1.1 billion tonnes by 2050 at current growth trends. More sustainable and circular processes will be needed to achieve a balance between the use and benefits of plastics in our lives and its impact on the environment. First and foremost among these is a concept familiar to everyone – recycling.