The circular economy represents an alternative, more sustainable model to the traditional linear economy. A linear model follows the path of make, use, then dispose of. In contrast, in a circular economy, we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service life. As a result, a circular economy also offers a way to improve India’s competitiveness and resource efficiency.
The unique characteristics of plastics enable them to play a significant role on the road to a more sustainable and efficient resource future. Lightweight, versatile, and durable plastics can help save critical resources such as energy and water in strategic sectors that include packaging, building, and construction, automotive and renewable energy, to name but a few. Also, plastics applications in packaging can help reduce food waste. However, to improve the circularity of plastics, it is essential to make sure that more and more plastic waste is recovered and doesn’t end up in landfill or the environment.
In developing a roadmap for a circular economy, it is essential to ensure that decisions around appropriate solutions are based on sustainability considered across the entire life cycle rather than merely considering resource efficiency aspects only at the end of life of a product. Plastics make a significant contribution to a circular economy when their entire life cycle is examined.
Boosting Demand for Recycled Plastics
Poorly functioning markets for recycled plastics is one of the biggest barriers facing a circular economy, presenting a challenge to improving global recycling rates. The raw feedstocks for most plastics are fossil fuels, which are currently cheaper to use than recycled materials. As such, the economics of plastic recycling is weak. While we see many companies making bold new commitments and goals for recyclability, few are thinking about their role in creating demand – that is, stimulating end markets for recycled material. To drive demand, companies must commit to using post-consumer resin (PCR) wherever possible. Using PCR will boost demand for the materials, creating vital end markets that make the domestic recycling stream viable.
Closing the Loop with Chemical Recycling
Unlike mechanical recycling, which is inevitably constrained by contamination and complications arising from material separation, chemical recycling is a process by which the material is stripped down to its original chemical building blocks so that they can be built back up again into new products. The exciting opportunity for chemical recycling is that waste plastic can be used to make food-grade PET – not just from plastic bottles, but also waste recovered from oceans and even polyester textiles. For a long time, chemical recycling has often remained in the margins of public discourse about plastic waste (mostly due to a lack of investment and infrastructure), but it is currently the focus of intense innovation.
A circular economy for plastics offers a promising vision for stemming the tide of plastic waste, but converting this aspiration into a fully functioning, closed-loop system will require greater cooperation from all key actors in the value chain. The recent announcement of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment – the first-of-its-kind collaboration that aims to create a ‘new normal’ for plastics – is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Biodegradable plastic additive provided by Oxygreen plastics is the most cost affordable solution to enhance the biodegradation of your plastic product. Where does the environment stand on your priority list? Get in touch with us and let’s together make a greener planet.
Get in touch with us and let’s together make a greener planet.