Plastic is cheap and very versatile, with many properties that make it ideal for a variety of applications. Plastics have become such an integral part of our daily lives and, because of this, we have developed a purely ” disposable ” lifestyle. We purchase and discard around 50% off all the plastic products in the world after merely one use.
Many articles have been and are being written on the topic, and whole websites are being dedicated to creating awareness about this growing problem.
According to plasticoceans.org – the accompanying website to the award-winning documentary ” A Plastic Ocean ” , for example, the main culprits are packaging and beverage bottles.
- Packaging is the largest end use market segment accounting for just over 40% of total plastic usage.
- Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
- A plastic bag has an average “working life” of 15 minutes.
- Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
- Every minute, 1 million plastic bottles are sold worldwide. By the year 2021, predictions are that this number will rise by another 20%.
- Less than half of these plastic bottles are being recycled. The remainder finds it’s way to landfill, along the side of the road or in the oceans. And that is a threat to the environment, which, according to some activists, is as bad as global warming.
- The process of producing bottled water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container.
“More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year.”
Many studies are being conducted and many articles have been written on the topic. But what does it all mean concretely? How are governments and organisations tackling the problem? What does it all mean for those millions of businesses that depend on the use of plastic ( packaging and products )?
According to our research, countries are taking it upon themselves to enforce their own laws. In an upcoming blog post, we will give a quick overview on what to expect when you live and/or operate a business in both France and Belgium, and provide alternative solutions.
Read Part 2 of this article : New Legislation in France and Belgium
Read Part 3 of this article : Alternatives for the use of plastic bags