May 28

Plastics Weekly: Plastic Pollution Can Be Cut 80% by 2040 – UN

Editorial Staff
May 23, 2023

Welcome to the Plastics Weekly, NEO’s regular news monitoring of the plastics industry.

This week’s highlights:

  • Global plastic pollution could be slashed by 80% by 2040, according to a report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The agency said the changes needed, though major, are also practical and affordable. The first step is to eliminate unnecessary plastics, such as excessive packaging, according to the report. The next steps are to increase the reuse of plastics, such as through refillable bottles, boosting recycling and replace plastics with greener alternatives. (The Guardian)
  • Industry leaders are tackling multilayer packaging recycling in an ambitious project that includes BASF, Krones, Südpack, and Tomra Recycling Sorting. The project demonstrates that PET-based multilayer packaging can be delaminated and recycled on an industrial scale using existing mechanical-recycling infrastructure. To prove their concept, the partners used multilayer packaging material with layers of PET and polyethylene (PE), separating the material into the two components and then mechanically recycling the plastics. (Plastics Today)
  • Are recycling centres making our plastics problem worse? Instead of helping to tackle the world’s staggering plastic waste problem, recycling may be exacerbating a concerning environmental problem: microplastic pollution. A recent peer-reviewed study that focused on a recycling facility in the United Kingdom suggests that anywhere between 6 to 13 percent of the plastic processed could end up being released into water or the air as microplastics, which have been found everywhere from Antarctic snow to inside human bodies. (The Washington Post)

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