Plastic is everywhere and even where it shouldn't be: in the oceans and in the stomachs of marine animals. Plastic pollution is currently one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. UN forecasts for the Environment point to the possibility of there being more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. The scenario is catastrophic and can only be reversed with a change in behaviour on Man’s part. It is crucial that the cycle of disposable plastic is interrupted and that we invest in the circular economy.
However, it is important to note that plastic has such interesting properties that it has made it a widely used and transforming material in modern society. We use plastic to produce environmental technologies, to manufacture essential products, such as mobile phones and computers, to manufacture automobiles and appliances, and we rely on plastic for the much desired advances in medicine.
Plastic is light, flexible, versatile, resistant, long lasting and inexpensive. It is a synthetic material, a polymer, the result of many chemical experiments. Because it does not exist in nature, it is 100% artificial and, once produced, it takes decades or even centuries to degrade. The durability of plastic is perhaps its best sustainability feature, but it is also its downside.
We need plastic to live, but we also need a smart solution to take advantage of its qualities and, at the same time, prevent this material from contaminating the environment.
It is in Man’s hands to choose sustainable products or to reduce dependence on single-use plastics and change consumption habits for a circular economy: reducing, reusing and recycling is the solution.