Opinion: Why we shouldn’t be surprised that twenty firms produce 55% of world’s plastic waste

A recent article in the Guardian newspaper revealed that “Twenty firms produce 55% of world’s plastic waste”. We shouldn’t be surprised, given the dominance of certain plastics emerging over the last 40-50 years because of their functionality and ease of production and conversion.

However, these very useful materials were developed for their primary functionality and only in the last 20 years or so have we coupled functionality with a requirement for meaningful recovery or environmental damage limitation.

Inevitably our historic way of accepting and dealing with waste in a lazy, generally environmentally damaging and non-sustainable way driven by economics has created a major problem for us.

Moving this linear waste supertanker towards a sustainable circular system requires the entire supply chain to agree to adopt new technologies, new materials and different economic models.

It is clear that enabling technologies are required to catalyse change and link existing plastics with new materials as well as new material handling technologies. Something which Aquapak, for example, with our Hydropol technology is pushing ahead on – enabling the circular economy.

With the growth and emergence of new polymers – something which Aquapak for example is pushing ahead on with our Hydropol enabling technology – I sincerely hope it won’t be another two decades before we can celebrate that 50% of the world’s plastic supports the circular economy.

Dr John Williams, CTO

 

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