Some numbers? According to a study conducted by a group of US researchers, every year, 50 kilos of plastic per person are placed on the market. And this quantity is growing.
World plastic production up to 2015 was 8 billion and 300 million tons; this means over one ton per current inhabitant of the planet. And half of that amount was produced in the last 13 years alone.
The study concludes that if current trends persist, i.e. if production continues to grow, even with a more massive use of recycling and incineration, by 2050 the amount of plastic that will in some way have ended up in landfills or dispersed in nature will reach 12 billion tons. A truly chilling figure that raises fundamental questions: how can we resolve the issue of waste disposal and reduce the exponential increase of plastic packaging materials in the waste stream? In which direction can we focus the evolution of technological innovation in order to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, safeguarding the environment and the future for all of us?
Two are the most creditable hypotheses currently being studied by the large multinationals:
- Manufacturing packaging by using truly sustainable materials that, in addition to functionality, also keep the issue of the environmental impact of packaging disposal into consideration;
- Using materials that can, thanks to recovery and recycling, minimize the use of new raw materials in the future.