As we grapple with the environmental challenges of our time, two potential solutions have emerged in the realm of plastics: degradable and recycled plastics. Both offer unique advantages and hold the promise to significantly reduce white pollution.
Degradable plastics, suitable for packaging and agricultural membranes, meet performance requirements and degrade into environmentally harmless substances post-use. They offer performance and practicality comparable to traditional plastics, with the added benefit of degradability and safety. However, their production cost is higher than traditional or recycled plastics, making them ideal for short-term use applications like packaging and agricultural membranes where recycling is challenging.
Recycled plastics, on the other hand, are suitable for areas with low hygiene requirements. They are cheaper than new materials and can maintain similar properties as traditional plastics for a limited number of cycles. However, after many cycles, their performance significantly decreases.
White pollution, primarily derived from the packaging field, can be significantly reduced by degradable plastics. As policies promote degradability and production costs decrease, degradable plastics are poised to dominate the future plastic market. In fact, in the field of degradable plastic applications, soft packaging and hard packaging already account for 53%.
The United Nations has passed a legally binding agreement to manage the life cycle of plastic and promote a circular economy. This agreement aims to transform the life cycle management of plastic from a linear mode to a circular mode. ISO standards play a key role in this transformation, regulating plastic characteristics and supply chains for sustainable use. They stimulate the global economy and improve sustainability, promoting material recycling technology and best available technology.
In conclusion, the future of plastics lies in the balance between degradability and recycling. Both approaches offer unique advantages and, when used in tandem, can significantly reduce the environmental impact of plastics.